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Zone Preview, Game of the Week: Longview vs. Lufkin

Aug. 26, 2016 at 1:40 a.m.

Trajan Bush runs the ball for Longview, on Friday August 19, 2016, during their scrimmage with Pine Tree in Lobo Stadium. (Michael Cavazos/News-Journal Photo)I

Time: 7:30 p.m., tonight

Stadium: Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin

Coaches

Longview: John King

Lufkin: Todd Quick

Up next: Longview at Marshall; Lufkin at Nacogdoches

When Longview has the ball

Players to watch

Longview: OL Kendall Starling ... RB D'Crayvan Polk ... RB Kendrevian White ... FB Trajan Bush ... QB Gaylon Wiley ... TE Jaylin Brown ... WR Eric Timberlake ... WR Kendle Johnson ... WR Astin Henry ... WR Kamden Perry

Lufkin: S Savon Fields ... LB Isaiah Phillips ... LB Ariel Olbera ... LB Torrand Grisby ... CB Jeremiah Davis

Keys: Offensive line play and sustained drives. The Lobo offensive line returns as one of the most experienced units for on a young Longview squad. Strong play up front, always a key for head coach John King, enables to the Lobos to do what they do best: run the football. Polk, White and Bush, along with a few newcomers, all have different attributes with the ball in their hand. Wiley makes his first start under center for the Lobos and is breaking in a new corps at wide receiver. Establishing the run will enable Wiley and Co. to mix in play-action passes as well as throw the ball to a new crop of receivers. Third down plays and limiting turnovers will be key for the Lobos to keep the ball moving and keep the defense on the sidelines against a big-play offense from the Panthers.

He said it: "We can't give them short grass and, if we do, it could be a long night. They can big-play you and boom, boom, you're playing catch up and that's not where you want to be with these guys. If they get momentum on their side, they're tough to handle." -- King

When Lufkin has the ball

Players to watch

Lufkin: QB Kordell Rodgers ... RB Kahlil Brown ... WR Dhailon Phillips ... WR Malik Jackson ... WR Javante Ellington ... WR Breylon Garcia ... OL Joseph Bell ... OL Hunter Hollis

Longview: S Traveion Webster ... LB Kobe Davis ... LB Ja'Quavion Faggans ... CB Roshodrick Harmon ... DL D'Marjai Dearion ... S Cameron Starling ... CB Daajman Taylor ... S Kyle Johnson

Keys: Find and contain Rodgers. The Lufkin quarterback returns from a year ago, and according to King, can hurt you in a number of ways. In 2015, he passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for another 600. Then, if you're able to do that, you have to focus on Brown at running back. The Lobo defense must tackle well and stay true locked-in coverage wise because Rodgers is mobile. The Lobos are breaking in a entire defensive front, have experience at linebacker in Davis and Faggans and have made changes in the secondary.

He said it: "Kordell, he's the guy. He can turn nothing into something. You've got to be able to contain him. At the same time, there's a lot of playmakers on the field that you've got to contain as well. They're going to spread you out, try to crease you with the run and, when you load the box, they can make you pay. It's pick your poison. We've got to fit it right, hit the gap, contain, cover and tackle well in space." -- King

Did you know: Tonight is the 79th meeting between the two schools and 13th since 2007 ... Longview holds a 38-36-4 advantage in the series ... Longview's last trip to Abe Martin Stadium was a 44-14 win for the Panthers, one the Lobos avenged in the first round of the playoffs by erasing a 28-point deficit for a 43-42 win. In 2015's season opener at Lobo Stadium, a blocked point-after attempt lifted the Lobos to a 21-20 win. In the bi-district round, Longview won, 31-10, at Rose Stadium in Tyler ... Both teams make the move to Class 6A season with the Lobos competing in District 11-6A and the Panthers heading south to 12-6A, which includes College Park, Conroe, Montgomery, Oak Ridge, The Woodlands and West Brook.

Twitter-sized preview: Mistakes will be magnified in the third-straight season opener between the two rivals. Whoever wins the turnover battle, third down goes 1-0.

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