Lobos look to build off big win
Sept. 15, 2013 at 6 p.m.
Longview head coach John King doesn't think the Lobos have played their best football yet.
But Saturday's battle with Mississippi power Olive Branch showed him they were heading in the right direction.
"We've made some improvements on coming together as a football team but there's still room to improve," King said. "I don't think we've played our best football yet.
"We played with a lot more intensity this week and what was nice to see but with the caliber of opponent that we were playing, we knew we had to."
It was a tale of two halves for the Lobos on Saturday at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, with the offense dueling it out with the Class 6A No. 4 Conquistadors in the first half and the defense sealing the win in the trenches in the second half.
"The defense played a heck of a second half and it was a half of missed opportunities on offense with the field position that we had, we just didn't make the plays at the right time," King said. "We did that in the second quarter and we had chances to in the second half."
Longview scored three second-quarter touchdowns to take a 27-20 advantage into the break after three lead changes.
Longview quarterback Dezmond Chumley and Olive Branch quarterback Ross Trail each had three touchdown passes and finished with over 100 yards in the first half.
The big difference was the ground attack, which Longview dominated 80 to minus-22 in the first half en route to a 182-(-29) advantage in the end.
JaMycal Hasty was the difference maker.
The junior running back battled for 146 hard-fought yards, including a one-yard touchdown blast, to go along with touchdown catches of 30 and 25 yards. Through three games, Hasty has 631 all-purpose yards with five touchdowns.
"JaMycal's performance last night was the best of the three games he's played," King said. "He ran the ball well, broke some tackles and had some tough yardage, I know it may not show up as total yards that he gained but those were some tough runs to make, he took some big hits and that was a heck of a defense he did it against.
"I was pleased the performance of the offensive line and tight ends and fullbacks that blocked well and allowed him to do that."
A fumble killed a drive at the Conquistador 20-yard line, the Lobos turned the ball over on downs in their next possession at the 17, followed by two punts stalled the Lobo offense in the second half. At the same time, the Lobo defense was keeping Trail and company at bay, holding Olive Branch to one yard rushing and 85 in the air.
"We were able to get pressure on the them and those guys were disrupted their running game as well as a good pass rush in the second half after too many busted coverages in the first half set up their big plays," King said. "The defense won the ballgame for us in the second half."
Omar French had three sacks and three tackles for loss while Deroderick Alexander, Decord Flanagan and Dillon Winn each had two sacks apiece. Four of the Lobos' season-high seven sacks came in the second half.
"Omar French and Deroderick Alexander were very disruptive up front, made some big plays and got some key sacks and tackles for loss," King said. "Travin Howard (who had a second-quarter interception, setting up Chumley's second touchdown toss to Hasty) had another excellent game."
Defensively, King hopes to build on the second half performance against Olive Branch as the Lobos press towards district action.
"We can definitely build on how we communicated so well in the second half, how we challenged their receivers and played well up front," King said. "That's how we're going to have to play the rest of the way."
Offensively, it's about taking advantage of the opportunities that present themself.
"We've got to take care of those chances," King said. "When we're on the plus side of the field, we've got to get points. The defense got you to that side of the field, get points.
"We've got to learn that every snap counts on special teams. Both teams missed extra points and field goals. Both teams had bad snaps, we got a quick score off of theirs and fortunate for us, they didn't off of ours."
After three-straight road games to open the season, Longview (2-1) will host rival Lufkin (1-2) this Friday in the first game of the season at Lobo Stadium. The game will be homecoming as well as a part of the Great American Rivalry Series.
"It's going to be nice to play one at the house for sure," King said. "We've been road warriors so to speak and the kids are used to it, but they're going to be excited about being back home."
Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h