Longview’s seventh win of the season was decided early with a fast start on both sides of the ball this past Friday night against Rockwall-Heath.
As the regular season winds down with three games remaining, all three goals for the Lobos are still on the line.
“Get to 4-0 and stay in control of our own destiny, that’s the message,” Longview head coach John King said Monday. “We’ve got three games left in the regular season with a playoff berth on the line, an inside track to a district championship and the top seed in Division II.
“We’ve got to go take care of business.”
The first checked box on the goal list could come Friday night as the Lobos (7-0, 3-0 in District 11-6A) head back to Mesquite’s Hanby Stadium to take on North Mesquite, who enters the week at 2-5 overall and 0-3 in 11-6A.
A win Friday would secure Longview’s 19th-straight postseason berth and a chance to make it 10-for-10 in the playoffs this decade, a first in program history, according to Lobo football historian Bill Simpson.
The playoff berth would be locked in with a Lobo win over the Stallions and a Mesquite Horn loss to Rockwall-Heath.
Longview came out blazing against Rockwall-Heath this past week, putting up a 35-0 shutout in the first half, the most points through two quarters this season. Defensively, it was the 19th and 20th quarters of scoreless action for opponents.
“I thought it was a pretty dominant performance on both sides of the ball in the first half,” King said. “Offensively, we were able to score on five of the first six possessions and the defense gave us the ball back with a short field after making a few big third-down and fourth-down stops.”
Haynes King hit the 1,000-yard mark through the air this season with a four-touchdown night, the 25th multi-touchdown outing of his 34-game career that includes 75 passing touchdowns and 92 overall. King targeted four receivers for scores and six of his nine touchdown passes this season have gone to different receivers.
Kevin Jones joined JD Williams as players with both a receiving and rushing touchdown this season.
Junior running back Kaden Meredith finished with 161 yards, his third 100-yard game of the season. Over the past two games, Meredith is averaging nearly 15 yards a carry as he heads toward the 1,000-yard club with 957 yards on the season and 11 touchdowns, despite having just one carry against Rockwall due to an injury.
Defensively, it was a bend-but-not-break night early before the Lobo defense settled and turned in a shut-down performance. Heath finished 5-of-14 on third down and 2-of-5 on fourth down while facing a season-high 72 snaps.
Tyshawn Taylor led with 17 tackles, highlighted by a stop on a 4th-and-1 attempt by the Hawks.
“Tyshawn added to his season with 17 tackles, Kybrien (Jackson-Jamerson) played well, Malik (Cannon) too,” King said. “I think you can gleam a test from Heath’s offense because I think they have one of the better offensive lines that we’ve seen. I talked a lot about their run game.
“Dakirin (Buchanan) did a good job on their big-play receiver and they all tackled well in space.”
Junior Tyree Hale got his first start at safety in place of Robert Pierce, who remains out with an arm injury. Hale finished with 12 tackles.
“He played well,” King said of Hale. “Intelligent player, wasn’t out of position and he communicated the secondary calls. We were able to play a few different looks.”
North Mesquite comes in averaging 291.1 yards per game on the season and allowing 302.9 yards.
“They’ve got a good nose guard in a three-man front that is disruptive and active,” King said of the Stallions. “They’ve struggled of late with some injuries and have lost a could of kids. They’re athletic and are playing hard.
“We’ve just got to go take care of business.”
That’s the mantra of the week as the regular season hits the home stretch.
“We’ve got to have the discipline to keep growing as a team,” King said. “We can’t get complacent and go through the motions.
“We have goals ahead of us so we’ve got to keep improving and growing. The mistakes we have corrected, we’ve got to keep them that way and continue to build on where we’re at.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Hanby Stadium in Mesquite.
■ FAN BUS: A fan bus will depart from the guard shack at Longview High School to take Lobo fans to Friday’s District 11-6A game between the Lobos and North Mesquite at Hanby Stadium.
Cost for the trip is $30 (does not include game ticket), and fans may sign up at the LISD athletic office.
For information: 903-241-2305
This story has been updated since it was originally published