ET Football: Lobos get test from Ennis
Aug. 21, 2015 at 10:54 p.m.
When the Longview Lobos hit the tunnel Friday night after their lone scrimmage of the year had wrapped, the preseason had officially ended.
Now, it's time for the regular season.
"It's business time," Longview head coach John King said. "We've got to sit back and evaluate personnel-wise and correct the mistakes that we don't need to repeat next week or the week after that or the week after that."
As for Friday, with Ennis coming to town, the Lobos got what King said he was looking for with head coach Jack Alvarez and the Lions, who enter the 2015 season as the defending state champions.
"They're a new football team, breaking in a bunch of new guys and I think they're going to be a great football team," King said of Ennis, which competes in District 16-5A, the second East Texas-heavy 5A league. "We got tested where we needed to be tested."
The controlled portion, which consisted of two 12-play sets for each first-team unit as well as the second team, was a mixed bag for the Lobos. A crisp Lobo offensive unit marched the field to start and was countered by a similar attack from the Lions. During the second set, the roles reversed with the Lobo offense struggling while the defense set the stage.
"Too many penalties, too many missed alignments, busted plays, missed assignments," King said. "We made plays at times but it was inconsistent."
Austin Moore started the set with an 11-yard run, followed by a 15-yard blast from Tylan Miller. Lobo quarterback Michael Ross then displayed his ability to make things happen with his feet, scrambling for a 15 yards in the opening set, which ended with a six-yard touchdown run from Miller.
Ennis countered with a quick score and added another in its first 12-play series, finishing the controlled portion with a 2-1 touchdown advantage.
When the live portion, which featured two 12-minute halves, hit, the Lobo defense set the stage.
After a quick gain from Ennis, the Lobo defense tightened, led by strong night from defensive end Kybrin Sheridan, who finished the live portion with two sacks and a forced fumble.
"He's very athletic and we're going to expect him to make plays for us," King said. "He's hard to block and he's strong. I also thought Bryson Davis had a good scrimmage. He made some plays for us.
"I thought our defense settled down and played well, especially in the live quarters."
Two players that saw time both ways, junior Kendrevian White and senior Bryan Gilliland, combined for the Lobo defenses' third-straight stop behind the line, forcing an Ennis punt on fourth and 25. Also seeing time both ways were Webster and Landon Peeler, who saw time all over the defensive front and at tight end.
"I saw a bunch of kids get in and saw some good stuff out of a lot of guys," King said. "We're going to play guys both ways and develop depth."
Ross hit a leaping Andrew Washington on the Lobos' first offensive snap of the live portion. The Lobos marched 62 yards on nine plays — highlighted by third down conversions from Moore and Miller and a 24-yard run from Ross, who called his own number on an option for a one-yard score.
On the next play, Sheridan was in the backfield again for his second sack, followed by an open-field tackle from Davis. Sheridan ended the Ennis' drive with a force fumble that was scooped up by Josh Johnson.
The Lobos failed to counter with a three-and-out punt. The next Lion possession was a sloppy one both ways with two big penalties to end the first half.
On third and seven, Ross extended the play by rolling out, hitting D'Crayvan Polk for a 20-yard gain. It was much of the same from Ross on the next snap, again showing his elusiveness in the backfield, to find Jon Sorey, who picked up a big block from tight end Jordan Wyatt, en route to a 47-yard touchdown, pushing the scoreboard to 14-0 Lobos.
Sorey had five catches for 73 yards on the night. Miller finished with 43 yards on eight touches overall and Ross finished with 96 yards of total offense in the live portion.
"That's the intangible he gives our offense," King said of Ross' scrambling. "It wish it didn't come down to that. I wish we could've executed a little better. That's not how it's designed. We didn't protect too well at times and he busted a few times too."
Ke'Undre Wilson had an interception followed by a 47-yard return. Junior quarterback Gaylon Wiley pushed the scoreboard to 21-0 Lobos on the first snap following the pick with a 17-yard run.
But it's a scoreboard that faded and one that didn't register. Next order of business for the Lobos is the season opener against Lufkin, set for Friday at Lobo Stadium as the Great American Rivalry Series returns to Longview.
"It's not going to be an easy road with our non-district schedule," King said. "Lufkin will come to town next week and I know they're going to be fired up and excited. We've seen them plenty of times in the past. It's not a big secret These kids have played each other for years.
"It'll be a fun, exciting night and I hope our guys come prepared to work on Monday."
(Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h)