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ET Football: Lobos' focus remains in house heading into lone scrimmage

By Hayden Henry
Aug. 15, 2016 at 11:29 p.m.

Longview quarterback Gaylon Wiley goes under center on Monday as the Lobos practice at Lobo Stadium.

The countdown is dwindling.

A season-opening date at Lufkin and, a few weeks later, the return to Class 6A has been all the talk for the Lobos ... for everyone except the team.

"Our focus has been to control what we can control and, I'll tell you this, our focus has been on us," Longview head coach John King said. "Yes, the days are counting down and we're going to have to keep pushing each and every day."

Like most throughout East Texas, the Lobos welcomed cooler temperatures on Monday in the return to the field for the second week of preseason work, heading into the lone preseason scrimmage on Friday. Like this past week in the triple-digit heat, Monday brought about more learning and installing for a youthful Lobo squad.

"We're going to continue to install and hone in on the things that we do," King said. "We've got to settle in on some things and the evaluation continues every day. We've got to figure out exactly where we need to be.

"We've thrown a lot at them this past week and we'll continue to do so."

Eighty-one freshman and 141 between the junior varsity and varsity squads makes an ever-changing puzzle to find out who will suit up on Thursday or Friday nights.

"Kids are stepping up and working hard," King said. "There's guys fighting for a spot and fighting hard. That's the thing with this 2017 class — they do what they're told and they do it do the best of their abilities.

"We've also got some young kids in a lot of places and they're going to have to grow up fast. They know that. It's still a lot of kids, a lot of pieces. Roughly 70 will dress on Friday and 80 on Thursday nights. We've got to have a plan to get everyone quality reps and get evaluated."

That remains the plan for Longview over the next three days heading into the varsity scrimmage with Pine Tree, which will kick off at 7 p.m. at Lobo Stadium.

Cost of attendance is $3 for adults and $2 for children with proceeds benefiting the Texas High School Coaches Association's Our Day to Shine benevolence fund, which benefits high school athletes throughout Texas, including right here in East Texas.

"Every dollar that comes in goes right back out, right back here," King, who estimated that $15,000 from the fund has returned to Lobo athletes.

A change in schedule now has the Lobo 9th and junior varsity squads taking on Whitehouse at 5 p.m. Friday at Jack V. Murphy Stadium in Gladewater. King noted that ticket stubs from the sub-varsity scrimmage will be accepted at Lobo Stadium for the varsity.

NOTE: Copies of "Friday Night Howl: The History of Longview High School Lobo Football," written by Jeremy Cotham will be for sale during season ticket sales at the LISD Athletic Office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Thursday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday. Cost of the annual-style book is $40.

Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h

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