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Lobos to take show on road in 2013

By Jimmy Carter jcarter@news-journal.com
Jan. 23, 2013 at 10 p.m.

Longview football fans will have to do plenty of traveling if they want to watch the Lobos this fall.

For the first time since 2005, Longview will play its first three games away from Lobo Stadium.

The 2013 schedule was released last week and features just four home games while including non-district matchups at Allen's $65 million stadium and Shreveport's Independence Stadium.

The following is a game-by-game breakdown of the Lobos' 2013 opponents.

<h3>COPPELL <em>(11-2 in 2012)</em></h3>

Coppell returns loads of talent.

The Cowboys dominated Longview up front in a 41-8 win last fall and return their top two backs and three offensive linemen who earned first-team all-district honors. The offense could again be tough to stop if junior-to-be quarterback Skyler Bonneau can be an effective replacement for Colby Mahon and several receiving threats emerge.

Defensive end Solomon Thomas is one of the best players in the nation and will again spearhead a defensive front that will be an enormous challenge for the Lobos' offensive line.

Longview will be faced with a huge test out of the gate for a second consecutive year, but should have plenty of motivation after the beatdown in 2012.

<h3>MARSHALL <em>(1-9 in 2012)</em></h3>

Whoever Marshall's new head coach is, he'll have his hands full.

While this is a rebuilding job, the new hire will inherit a quarterback with potential. Justin Hart showed promise at times as a freshman, but didn't have much help and was often running for his life.

Whether the new coach can get any talent walking the school's hallways onto the field might be the biggest question mark.

<h3>OLIVE BRANCH, MISS. <em>(11-2 in 2012)</em></h3>

Olive Branch lost most of its offensive playmakers, including dual-threat quarterback Sam Craft, who had 2,772 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns last season.

Athlete Alfred Dickens can make plays on both sides of the ball and earned first-team all-state honors as a safety. He will be part of a defense that will need to be strong early in the season while the offense tries to get on track.

The Conquistadors have a solid program and won Mississippi's 2011 Class 6A state title. This will be an opportunity for Longview to prove Texas high school football's superiority.

<h3>LUFKIN <em>(9-4 in 2012)</em></h3>

Junior-to-be Trey Cumbie has an envious position if he can win the starting quarterback job.

Texas A&M commit Jamal Jeffery and KeKe Coutee are two of the best targets in East Texas and will take some pressure off a first-year starter.

Lufkin should be a solid team if it can get consistent quarterback play, identify a playmaker at running back and fill holes on the defensive line.

<h3>MESQUITE <em>(11-1 in 2012)</em></h3>

Mesquite should be a shell of the dominant team that won district last year.

Graduate will hit the Skeeters hard.

Gone will be district MVP quarterback Alex Cooper, running back Johnny Session and the top four receivers, including two Division I commits. Mesquite will also have to replace most of its defensive line and fill in other spots on defense.

Robinson will win 12-5A Coach of the Year again if this team is anywhere close to what it was last year.

<h3>ROCKWALL-HEATH <em>(6-5 in 2012)</em></h3>

Heath's defense was porous against good competition despite having three Big 12 commits on that side of the ball in 2012.

Now that they and most of the rest of the top defensive players have graduated, the Hawks will again likely give up a lot of points.

Quarterback Jordan Hoy got valuable experience when graduating senior Chase Schultz went down with an injury and will be one of a few promising juniors on the offense.

But they'll face pressure to outscore most teams Heath plays.

<h3>MESQUITE HORN <em>(8-4 in 2012)</em></h3>

Horn loses workhorse running back Treyvon Marsh and big-play receiver Brian O'Bannon, but quarterback Destri White is likely the most explosive returning player in the district. Receivers Justin Oliphant, Del'Michael High and Jarrison Stewart will give him weapons to spread the ball around to.

If a few players step up on the offensive line and the defense improves, the Jaguars could be the 12-5A favorite.

<h3>NORTH MESQUITE <em>(2-8 in 2012)</em></h3>

North Mesquite returns almost all of its top talent from last fall.

Problem is, that talent struggled mightily. Ta'Varius Luke and Corey Hunt are a decent one-two combo at running back, but the Stallions will likely struggle again unless quarterback Cody Williams becomes an improved passer and the defense makes major strides in the offseason.

<h3>TYLER LEE <em>(1-9 in 2012)</em></h3>

Coach Darrell Piske inherited a tough situation in his first year at Lee.

This fall doesn't look much different. The Raiders don't have the bodies on the lines or the athleticism at the skill positions.

<h3>ROCKWALL <em>(3-7 in 2012)</em></h3>

Running back Chris Warren and defensive end Termin won the 12-5A offensive and defensive newcomer of the year awards as a sophomore and freshman, respectively.

The Yellowjackets have some young talent to build around and could contend for a playoff spot again, but will likely still struggle against solid competition.

<em>(Follow Jimmy Carter on Twitter: @jicartersports)</em>



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