ET Football: Lobos gear up for district opener
Sept. 23, 2013 at 11 p.m.
Entering Week Four of the season, Longview has been through two games against perennial powers and two more against bitter rivals.
The Lobos have seen big games on even bigger stages, a battle on enemy ground and Mother Nature in full affect.
But for the 3-1 Lobos, the most important part of the season begins now.
"The focus is more important now than it's been all year," Longview head coach John King said. "You don't get these back, they're not tune-up games, they're for real and they count.
"Every play, every game is important because you never know what it will come down to in week 10."
Longview returns to Lobo Stadium for the second-straight week, kicking off District 12-5A action against Mesquite at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in a familiar spot in the season.
After a 3-1 start in 2012, Mesquite spoiled the district opener for the Lobos with a 33-7 thumping in Mesquite. Despite the Skeeters only returning five starters from 2012's district championship squad, King reiterated how important Friday night's game is and that the young Mesquite team (2-2) is not to be taken lightly.
"It's the most important time of the year, beginning district play," he said. "We had a 3-1 record at this time last year and got thumped by Mesquite and we've got a tough one Friday night.
"They've got a good team, they're young and getting better every week so we're going to have our hands full."
Throughout their non-district schedule, King believes his team has been tested on various fronts from high-octane offenses from No. 6 Coppell and Mississippi top-five Olive Branch.
"I think we've been tested pretty well, we've seen everything from a power run game and that offense out of Coppell to the spread teams that we've played," King said. "We've faced teams that are 3-4 to 5-2-5 so we've seen just about everything we could've seen in non-district so hopefully our kids will be ready for whatever Mesquite throws at us."
Longview wrapped up non-district play averaging 221 yards on the ground and 168 through the air with 12 scores coming on the ground attack, seven passing and two from the defense.
The Lobos put up their most balanced attack of the season this past Friday in a 55-30 rain-soaked win over Lufkin with 205 yards passing and 291 yards on the ground. The previous three contests bounced back-and-forth with the Lobos opening the season with 230 yards in the air and 97 on the ground, followed by a 332-yard ground attack and 91 through passing.
Junior running back JaMycal Hasty is averaging 7.7 yards-per-touch with sixtouchdowns and is nearing the 1,000-yard mark with 864 combined. Quarterback Dezmond Chumley has thrown for 672 yards and seven scores, spreading the ball to seven different receivers in doing so. Tight end Jordan Whitaker and Texas-bound Dorian Leonard each have a pair of touchdown passes and have 204 and 193 yards, respectively. Hasty has 130 yards on seven catches with a pair of touchdowns.
"I think we have an identity on offense," King said. "Our power running game has been successful the past few weeks. We protected better and threw the ball a little better this past week, spreading it around a little more, which issomething we're capable of doing.
"I feel like when we get to the point where we need our power running game to be successful, it has and hopefully that will continue the rest of the year."
King said he is pleased his teams' progress thus far in the season but much is left for the Lobos and they must take advantage of the opportunities as district action gears up.
"We've made progress, done some good things and some not so good," King said. "We could be 4-0, we had the opportunities to be or we could be 2-2, that's part of this game, taking those opportunities."
Rockwell Heath, Mesquite Horn and North Mesquite all sit at 4-0 on the year. Tyler Lee is 3-1 while Mesquite and Rockwall round our 12-5A at 2-2
Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h