Longview’s football team has been hard at work since its 2021 practice and conditioning began last week, but now the Lobos are ready to face longtime foe Texas High in the season’s lone scrimmage on Friday night.

The varsity event is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Tiger Stadium at Grim Park in Texarkana.

“The effort and attitude have been good,” said Longview athletic director and head football coach John King. “I think our conditioning is pretty decent.”

“The numbers are starting to solidify,” he also said. “It was one thing that we had to fight early on. Once you get a solid depth chart, it’s a lot easier to plan your practices and move your football team forward.”

King and his coaching staff planned to work with a less experienced team in 2021 due to a large senior class of players graduating after the 2020 campaign. Luckily for them, this year’s newcomers have already battled and left a mark at practices.

“The most impressive thing has been the play of some of our younger guys,” said King. “We’re going to be an inexperienced football team, and we’ve got some young kids that have really stepped up. It’s not only their effort and attitude, but in their understanding of schemes. We started from ground zero and we tried to progress gradually and get to where we want to be.”

The quick development of younger athletes allows the Lobos to not only have a well-rounded roster, but also have a faster progression in following its plans for the season ahead. That includes being better prepared for Friday’s scrimmage against Texas High and the Aug. 28 season opener against defending Class 5A Division I state champion Denton Ryan at the Ford Center in Frisco.

“We’re getting closer by the day,” King said of his team’s continued push to where he’d ultimately like it end up. “Our focus has been on us. Just trying to get better as a football team. Hopefully, we’re better today than we were yesterday. The kids can give a great effort, retain the information we covered yesterday and move forward.”

“Football is a physical game,” he said. “It’s the mental prep that you’ve got to have. We’re having meeting time, walk-through time, video time and individual drills. There are all kinds of evaluations and instruction going on where kids can improve their level of play. It’s a conglomeration of the body of work we do all week. Plays don’t win games. Players win games. You just got to make sure that you have your kids coached up.”

Longview is excited to face some competition outside its program in Friday’s scrimmage and plans to make the most of its season tune-up. A quality opponent in Texas High will test the Lobos, who will face another round of evaluation and adjustments before they kick off their first game of the 2021 season next week.

“You want to gage where you’re at,” King said of the benefits of facing a strong team in Friday’s scrimmage. “Put them up against good competition. We’re going to do that with our scrimmage and non-district schedule. Then, we play our district schedule. We always try to find good opponents.”

“I want to see the effort, intensity and execution,” King said of what he expects from Longview players in Friday’s scrimmage. “Playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played. Go out, execute, play and compete.”

NOTES: The opening scrimmage format will include eight 12-snap drives. Longview’s first-team offense will face Texas High’s first-team defense twice, Longview’s first-team defense will face Texas High’s first-team offense twice, Longview’s second-team offense will face Texas High’s second-team defense twice, and Longview’s second-team defense will face Texas High’s second-team offense twice. Both Longview and Texas High will then have four field goal attempts and four punt snaps against the other team’s defense ... There will be a 15-minute live quarter between the varsity first-team players and a 10-minute live quarter between the varsity second-team players ... The cash-only admission will be three dollars and will benefit the THSCA “Our Day To Shine.”

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Follow Thomas Bingham on Twitter: @Texan8thGen

Howdy y'all! I'm the Longview News-Journal's multimedia sports reporter. I have deep East Texas roots and love covering the region's stories and games. I graduated from UT, and have covered sports in different parts of Texas throughout my career.