Once again, Longview and Lufkin collide to open the season.
The Lobos officially open its title defense against a loaded Panther team in what promises to be another classic in this storied rivalry.
Here's a few things to watch for tonight at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin:
UP TOP: A key battle both ways: Longview's receiving corps vs. Lufkin's secondary and vice versa. Kaden Kearbey is back as Longview's primary target but quarterback Haynes King has options in Kyas Moore, Keith Halton, Phillip Washington and JD Williams. They'll all be competing with returning starter Christian Stafford at cornerback as well as the lethal duo of Jerrin Thompson and Tre Odom at safety. That's three multi-year starters at four spots in the secondary. On the flip side, the Lufkin trio of Ja'Lynn Polk, who garners a lot of attention and rightly so, is joined by Christian Reggie and Christian Diaz, a 5-10 speedster that must be accounted for at all times. That's two multi-year starters going against a Lobo secondary that is half new with cornerback Patrick Webb and safety Shannon Jackson joining returners Robert Pierce and Dakirin Buchanan.
Sawyer Goram-Welch doesn’t want things to be easy.
UP FRONT: Buying time is the key here. Longview's offensive line is new and needs to hold up against Lufkin's defensive front which is a unit full of new faces as well. If not, King could be looking at a record night on the ground. Quick passes and targeting the tight ends could bode well for the Lobos with the speed in the Panther secondary. In contrast, the more experienced battle in the trenches pits the Lobo defensive front against Lufkin's offensive line, which has size in all five spots. Longview's quickness on the end in Beltran and Goram-Welch could bode well but getting too far up field is something they can't do with returner Caleb Berry at running back. Berry is a patient back and is used in the screen game. It'll be a fine line of getting pressure on the now experienced Jordan Moore at quarterback to keep the Panther receiving corps from getting open because that will happen quickly.