Longview vs. Rockwall

Longview's Kamden Perry slips a tackle against Rockwall on Sept. 28 in Rockwall.

Down 21-14, Longview head coach John King felt confident at halftime against Rockwall in Friday's District 11-6A opener on the road.

"I felt good at halftime," King said. "We were down a score but we had been our own worst enemy at times but there wasn't any finger pointing and they were rallying together and that's good to see."

It took a four-quarter, all hands on deck effort.

"We knew it was going to take four quarters and that was the message at halftime," King said. "We found a way to make a few plays down the stretch and make one more than they did and we did that.

"We had several key stops defensively to give us a chance and offensively, we were able to put some points on the board too."

It was another well-balanced attack, the best of the season, for the Lobos, who finished with 300 yards passing and 304 yards rushing.

"Keilyn had a great night, Kamden had another big night and Haynes threw the ball well at times," King said. "He had a lot of help with some great catches from everybody ... Kamden, Kaden, DK Mumphrey and Quay.

"We were able to mix it up. The offensive line played well.  There were very few times we had pressure on the quarterback."

King, who hit 300 yards passing for the second-straight game, took an unofficial visit to TCU, who was on hand in Rockwall, on Saturday.

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Haynes King - TCU visit

2020 Longview QB Haynes King took an unofficial visit to TCU on Friday.

Defensively, the case was the same.

"The fourth-down stop (in the first half), they ran a speed sweep and it was a great job by Michael Martin to stretch the play out, Jephaniah Lister was there to fit the run and Dakirin Buchanan got off a block. All three were there to make the stop on the perimeter and what was big for us."

After a game-tying touchdown pass from King to Perry on a big play from both, the Lobo defense sniffed out a fake punt, forced a three-and-out and Robert Pierce came down with a key intercetpions.

"You can see on tape that he identifies an odd formation, which they're known for, and he just smelled a rat," King said of Pierce. "He's pointing it out and that goes back to being attentive in film and practice sessions in recognizing what they do and what is coming.

"He made a heck of a play on the football and if he's not there then nobody is there."

It was the second interception of the season to go with two PBUs, a fumble recovery, three forced tackles for loss and one sack for the junior, a safety that saw time for the first time this season at outside linebacker as the Lobo defense made the move to a three-man front.

"He's a quiet kid and he's always paying attention and is an edgy football player with some natural instincts and that is a prime example of that," King said. "We felt like with the injury situation on the defensive line and the tempo that they play with, we needed to play a three-man front.

"With Pierce and Martin playing outside linebacker, they played well for the first time. They had some mistakes but also made some big plays."

It's a good time for an open week for the Lobos, who have a few injuries. DL Jadyn James-Rollins is expected to return in two weeks against Mesquite Horn. Junior DL Andrew Beltran is out a few weeks with a knee injury.

All of the injuries against Rockwall were minor and no players will miss any time, King said.

At 5-0 on the midway point of the regular season, King said there's been a lot of progression on both sides of the ball but, obviously, there's plenty of work to be done.

"To be 5-0 with the schedule we've played is nice and that means we've played some defense football but we're nowhere near where we need to be or can be," King said. "Defensively, I think we've seen some kids grow up and we've been tested in different ways.

"Rockwall was different than Ruston and Ruston was different than Lufkin. I like the different styles we've seen. I think we're getting a little more comfortable with our personnel and what best fits our kids. The second half against Rockwall, I think, is indicative of what our defense can do as far as making adjustments, settling down and making some stops.

"Offensively, we've gotten better each week and we're playing a little more consistently. Our kicking came has been solid but we can't take things for granted and we can't get complacent."

Up next, after a wild opening night for 11-6A, is a quick breather before the final five of the regular season.

"Anything can happen in this district and for our football team if they continue to work and play hard," King said.

Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h

Hayden Henry is the beat writer for the Longview Lobos and covers sports throughout East Texas.