King preparing Lobos for tough road test against Lufkin
By Jimmy Carter firstname.lastname@example.org
Sept. 18, 2012 at 11 p.m.
Longview coach John King is trying to prepare his players for what they will experience when they get off the bus in Lufkin on Friday.
Just seven Lobo players have played a varsity game at Abe Martin Stadium, a loud atmosphere where Lufkin has won eight consecutive games against Longview.
"The other 48 players have no idea what they're getting into," King said Tuesday to a large crowd at the Rotary Club of Longview. "(Former Longview) coach (Doug) Cox will tell you, we're going to get off the bus 14 points down. Period. I told them (Monday), you better make sure you're 14 points better."
Longview hasn't beaten the Panthers on the road since 1997, a streak that includes four losses during King's tenure. King has led the Lobos to a 3-1 record against Lufkin in games played at Lobo Stadium or a neutral site, but hasn't been able to earn an elusive first win at Abe Martin.
"It's a tough place to play," King said. "We've had opportunities time and time again. For whatever reason, we haven't gotten it done. We've been up 13 points two different times and something will happen right before half. They'll get a bomb, we'll have a turnover, they'll tie it up or go ahead. We've got a find a way to eliminate those mistakes and get over the hump.
"I think we've got enough weapons to do that. I know our defense is good enough to do that, but we can't put all the pressure on them. We've got to be smart."
This week, King will bus down to Lufkin with a team that has bounced back to win two consecutive games after a season-opening blowout loss against Coppell. Longview has won both games without all-district quarterback Bivins Caraway, who suffered a season-ending torn ACL in the first half of the Coppell game.
"People want to know who's going to replace Bivins and lead us to the next district title and the next state title," King said. "I've made it real clear to our football players that I'm not worried about those two guys as much as I am the other guys around them.
"We've got to not only be sound in the offense, defense and the kicking game, we've got to be sound in everything we do."
(Follow Jimmy Carter on Twitter: @jicartersports)