Longview has completed its first three days of the 2021 spring football season, and that puts the Lobos ahead of where they were at this time in 2020.
Like any high school football team, this year’s Lobos have some question marks due to the open positions left by recent graduates and returning player position changes. But, expect that to change when answers and solutions are found over the next month.
That’s because this year’s players and coaches are a motivated bunch and have already jumped at the opportunity to compete. They remember some team questions lasting longer than normal in 2020, and don’t want the same progression delay to affect another fall season’s success. That was one of the side effects of COVID-19 cancelling last year’s spring football session and the normal season preparation that occurs.
“It’s used as a teaching tool,” Longview head football coach John King said of the importance of spring football. “There’s a lot of technique stuff that we’ve done. It’s an evaluation time. It’s important for us to be able to teach the specifics of each drill.”
One example of that is the fact that 153 players have represented Longview in the opening days of spring football. They will be in the mix for open positions and can provide necessary depth to the program. The reps have also allowed a number of players to shine, including linebackers Devean Isaac and Kaden Brooks, wide receiver Jartaivan Wright, running back Jarrett Lewis and defensive back Ta’Darion Boone.
“Always a fun time for me,” said King. “There’s a lot of hopes and dreams right now. And then being able to see the work they’ve done in the offseason, seeing how they’ve grown, matured [and] become better players. It’s great to see their hard work pay off and carry over to the field.”
One of the focused areas of development is the men in the trenches because their performance on the offensive and defensive lines can set the tone in games and ultimately provide the team with important leadership and success. But to reach that point, especially with some youth at those positions, there’s plenty of preparation that is currently in the works.
“There’s been some decent play on both sides of the ball,” King said of what he’s seen from his team’s linemen in the early days of the current spring session. “But, it’s still not where our expectation is. We’ve got to get better there. Those areas you’ve got to be able to win if you’re going to compete for a district championship, a playoff spot or a state championship. You’ve got to be able to run the football and make stops, so the line of scrimmage is going to be important for us.”
“The good thing is the effort has been there, the willingness to take coaching, and take it when it gets tough,” he continued. “We’re trying to put them in pressure situations because football’s not an easy game. You can learn more about a man on fourth and one than in a lot of ways.”