A knot in the stomach usually accompanies Longview head coach John King when the Lobos hit the practice field on Thanksgiving Day.
With the adjusted schedule in 2020, practice on Thursday was under different circumstances as the Lobos prepared for the penultimate game of the season.
“Normally, you have a knot in your stomach because it’s do or die, it’s the playoffs and you can’t have a bad week or even a bad day,” King said. “But, with two weeks off and in control of our own destiny, we really challenged them to amp it up and go into playoff mode. That’s why we broke out the gold socks.
“We had to win out to secure a playoff spot, which we did today, and now we have to keep winning to secure a home playoff game.”
The Thursday practice without the win-or-go-home implications also led to a time of reflection.
“Coach (Oscar) Wilson leads us in a word of prayer every day after practice and that was a motto behind all of them, just to be thankful we were able to be here, healthy, and to be able to play the game with everything going on. We’ve all been in this together, on and off the field, and it was nice to take a step back and reflect on that.”
And now, with a total team effort in a 55-10 win over McKinney North in a Friday afternoon tilt at Lobo Stadium, the Lobos are bound for the postseason for the 20th straight year and playoff mode is fully engaged.
Here’s a few things from Friday’s win:
MEREDITH INCHES CLOSER: With an 188-yard, four-touchdown outing, senior running back Kaden Meredith is inching his way to two significant Lobo school records.
Meredith now finds himself with 52 career touchdowns — 49 on the ground, one scoring reception and two kickoff return scores — to place him three back of Fred Talley, who racked up 55 from 1996-98, according to Lobo football historian Bill Simpson.
The four-touchdown day pushed Meredith past Vondrell McGee’s total of 48 into sole possession of second place on the rushing touchdown record, four behind Talley’s 53.
Meredith has 3,447 total yards in his career.
ONE-TWO PUNCH: Markevion Haynes entered Friday’s game as the leading rusher and although it was Meredith’s day on the stat sheet, Haynes continued to provide solid support and a potent part of the one-two punch.
Haynes finished with a team-high three catches for 49 yards, including a bruising 15-yard touchdown from Jordan Allen.
“He did it all today,” King said of Haynes. “Catching out of the backfield, blocking or running the ball, he’s a heck of football player. He had some nice catches, got him a touchdown on one, but really had some big blocks that spelled Kaden to break loose. Unselfish player back there.”
KYBO FLIES AROUND: Outside linebacker Kybrien Jackson-Jamerson flew around all afternoon and was involved in a number of big ways, filling the stat sheet with a sack, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt.
“We played with a lot of heart today,” he said. “We were off for a while, it felt like longer than three weeks, so we were ready. It’s a blessing to be out here with everything going on. I cherish practice and every moment I get with my team.
“Me and my guys, we’re going to do whatever it takes out there. We’re going to do what Lobos do and that’s work hard together.”
Jackson-Jamerson, who has four fumble recoveries on the season, committed to the University of Alabama-Birmingham recently.
DEFENSIVE LINE SHINES: Trevor Tamplin continued a breakout season on the Lobo defensive line on Friday, finishing with a sack, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a pass broken up.
Tamplin entered the game with a team high in sacks with five and tackles for loss with eight.
Another new name coming into the season up front for the Lobo defense is Jahkamian Carr, who added a fumble recovery, his third of the season, to go with six tackles.
LINEBACKER DUO: Linebackers Laqualon Hale, a senior, and junior Devean Isaac have turned it on of late.
Hale finished with a team-high 10 tackles against McKinney North. Isaac followed with five tackles to go with a sack and a tackle for loss, giving the junior 21 tackles over his past three games.