Any bright spots from Longview’s preseason scrimmage against Texas High were overshadowed by an ugly ending on Thursday night at Lobo Stadium.
Just over three minutes into the live portion, a benches-clearing, punch-throwing brawl broke out between the two teams and the final 12 minutes — which were scheduled to be the last action before game week officially arrives — were canceled.
“Pretty poor effort on the Lobos’ part tonight,” Longview head coach John King said. “Our execution wasn’t very good and then our character wasn’t very good, either. It was worse than our execution, and that’s saying something.”
Things were chippy leading up to the brawl, which came after a Texas High punt. Six plays prior and just two into the live portion of the scrimmage, two players were ejected.
Coaches and staff quickly separated the two teams and immediately ended the night.
“It’s an embarrassing situation what took place,” King said. “We’re trying to have a scrimmage — a practice — for both teams to try to improve and then there’s that stuff. We didn’t play well. They got after us pretty good and we do that.
“That’s not football and that’s certainly not how we play football around here.”
The discipline started immediately, and with an audience.
After Texas High cleared Lobo Stadium, King and staff lined the entire Lobo team up at the goal line and ran the entire length of the field, non-stop, for nearly 30 minutes.
It’s just the beginning.
“We’ve got that character problem to fix and then we have a ton of mistakes we’ve got to fix on the field, whenever we get to that point,” King said. “Right now, we’re going to fix that problem before we get back out there. They’re either going to be with us or they’re going to go somewhere else.
“There’s a lot of selfish behavior and we’re going to have to get that solved before we move forward. We’re going to get it solved, with or without them.”
Thursday was the lone preseason rehearsal for both teams after the season for Class 6A and 5A programs was delayed by a month while lower classification teams started their respective seasons.
Longview opens the regular season on Friday, Sept. 25, against Temple at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, a game that will be aired live on Fox Sports Southwest.
“I still don’t know about our football team,” King said. “Our character is our biggest problem right now.”
Football-wise, the mistakes from Longview were typical for a tuneup. Drive-killing penalties, bad snaps, poor execution on special teams, mis-alignments and missed tackles on defense, King said.
With a host of rotation and players getting reps with some being limited, the Lobo offense sputtered at times against a solid defensive front from Texas High.
“We’ll watch the film and go from there,” King said. “It’s the same ones that you can count on every day that were the bright spots tonight. I hate the fact that those players have to be associated with something like tonight.
“Those guys are going to be in the forefront of fixing our problems and we’re about to find out who those guys are.”
Longview rolled in both of its sophomore quarterbacks, Landyn Grant and Jordan Allen, as well a mix of offensive linemen.
Markevion Haynes had a solid night running the ball and added a truck-stick run after a catch for Longview against a stout Tiger front seven.
Allen connected with sophomore receiver Jalen Hale for a big gain and Grant hit Alex Zulueta for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone in the controlled portion.
Defensively, the Tigers scored one touchdown against the first-team defense that applied pressure from the front of Joe Jones, Bryant Arthur and Jahkamian Carr. Linebackers Laqualon Hale and Devean Isaac were in the mix as well, including back-to-back tackles for loss.
Both teams went three-and-out to start the live portion of the scrimmage before an ugly ending capped the part of the season that doesn’t go in the record books.
That portion comes in seven days.