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Working over Thanksgiving break nothing new to Lobos

By Hayden Henry
Nov. 25, 2013 at 5:03 p.m.


School may be out this week but the Lobos are in full swing.

But putting in the work during the Thanksgiving break is something that the Lobos are used to.

Longview is gearing up for its seventh-straight appearance in the regional round of the playoffs this Saturday against A&M Consolidated (College Station) at 4 p.m. at Midlothian ISD Multi-Purpose Stadium.

"Our kids are accustomed to practicing during Thanksgiving," Longview head coach John King said. "Some of the younger kids kind of get surprised by it but they're used to it and the guys that have been through this before know what to expect.

"We try to make it fun but there's work that's got to be done and we don't want to keep them here all day but we try to get that work in, get some film study and practice time, of course. It's the same plan it's always been."

Longview will practice throughout the week heading into Saturday's 5A Division II regional round and King hopes that the focus he has seen from his team all year is there this week.

"For us, it's going to be the mental preparation," King said. "Defensively, we've got to prepare in recognizing Consolidated's formation s and sets and what they want to do with the football, who their main playmakers are going to be and how they attack certain looks. Offensively, it's what they are going to do to try to slow down our running game. Are they going to over-shift or get another safety in the box? We've got to prepare for all of that."

Consolidated (9-2) is coming in off a big win over Austin Westlake, 41-16, in the area round.  Westlake beat the Tigers, 38-32, in the regular season.

The <a href="http://www.news-journal.com/etvarsity/high_school/strong-rd-quarter-propels-lobos-to---win-against/article_1480c1de-54a0-11e3-8312-001a4bcf887a.html" target="_blank">Lobos come in off a 27-10 win over McKinney Boyd in the area round</a>, where Longview found themselves down at halftime for the first time all season before a 20-point third quarter propelled the Lobos to their seventh-straight area win.

"First time we went in at half without a lead the entire year and there wasn't any panic buttons," King said. "The kids knew we were our own worst enemy and we settled down in the second half and played football.

"No adjustments – we didn't change anything offensively or defensively – we just tried to hone in on what they were trying to do to attack us and we made the plays. It was awfully quiet at halftime … they didn't panic, knew we had to play better and had to play with a sense of urgency and we went out and did that."

Dezmond Chumley accounted for 200 total yards, including throwing two touchdown passes and being on the receiving end of a nine-yard score on a halfback pass from JaMycal Hasty. Chumley added 69 yards on the ground – a trend that has been brewing in recent weeks.

"Offensively on film, Dezmond played as good as I thought he did and maybe a little better," King said. "We've had the plays where Dez runs the ball all year but haven't had to use them or didn't feel like we had to use them at that time. He made plays the other night that were designed and others that weren't. When they dropped eight in coverage and he was flushed, he made the plays that got us first downs or put us in a better spot."

The Lobos ran a season-high 48 plays on the ground, led by Hasty with 167 yards on 34 touches. King said the high number of running plays was just part of the game.

"Of course we were hoping we could run the ball a little bit going in – knew it was going to be tough – and then we had a 17-point lead in the fourth and we got a little more run-heavy," King said.

But now the focus has shifted A&M Consolidated, who enter the third week of the playoffs averaging close to 50 points in the Tigers' last six games.

"They're a very explosive offensive football team," King said. "Every skill kid they have is a weapon and they all make a lot of plays. Defensively, they've gotten better each week as the year has progressed. They've got an outstanding defensive tackle in DJ Jackson (6-2, 295). He's going to present problems for us. He's just a big kid that's quick on his feet."

With a week of no school and a stout task at hand, King hopes the focus remains on the field.

"The big thing is making sure they're in attendance and focused while they're here," King said. "There's so many distractions and if we don't handle it the right way, we won't have productive work. If we don't stay focused and don't do the things that we need to do to prepare, then we're just spinning our wheels and we don't need that."

<strong>NOTES:</strong> Defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson had an MRI today, according to King, but did not have the results as of Monday. Henderson missed part of the second quarter against Boyd but returned to the field during the second half.

Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/hayden_h" target="_blank">@hayden_h</a>

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