PREVIEW: Longview vs. Klein Collins
Dec. 1, 2017 at 3:17 p.m.
Updated Dec. 1, 2017 at 3:17 p.m.
Longview head coach John King had a few things to describe the ‘it’ factor for the 2017 Lobos.
But one factor simply stood out above the rest.
“The biggest it factor is the chemistry on this football team,” King said. “That locker room, you can go in there and there’s no bickering, none of that.
“They love practicing, competing and pushing one another each and every day. It means something to all them to play for the guy next to them. They’ve had one another’s back each step of the way.”
The next step is a big one for the Lobos, who face a tall December task in undefeated Klein Collins in the third round Saturday at Baylor’s McLane Stadium in Waco.
To conquer that next step, it goes back to the ‘it’ factor.
“Going into the season with all the hype around this football team, everyone thought we would be better this season and I think we’ve lived up to that billing,” King said. “We had to grow up together as a football team.
“It only gets tougher each week, that’s what the Texas high school football playoffs are about. Now is the time to be playing your best football.”
Here’s a look at the Class 6A, Division II, Region II semifinal:
LONGVIEW (11-1) VS. KLEIN COLLINS (11-0)
Time: 2 p.m., Saturday
Stadium: Baylor’s McLane Stadium, Waco
Longview: John King (14th season, 150-35; 14th playoff appearance, 33-13 in playoffs)
Klein Collins: Drew Svoboda (10th season, 93-23; 8th playoff appearance, 11-7 in playoffs)
Last week: Longview 75, Dallas Jesuit 43; Klein Collins 48, Round Rock Stony Point 14
Up next: Saturday’s winner faces either Lufkin or Spring Westfield in the Region II final (Lufkin vs. Westfield, 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Texan Drive Stadium, Porter). If it’s Longview vs. Lufkin, the state quarterfinal will be at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9 at Stephen F. Austin State University. If it’s Longview vs. Spring Westfield, the game will be 2 p.m., Saturday at Waco ISD Stadium.
WHEN LONGVIEW HAS THE BALL
Players to watch
Longview: ATH A’Darius Carter (23 catches, 490 yards, 5 TDs; 26 carries, 148 yards, 12 TDs; 78 passing yards) ... RB Keilyn Williams (145 carries, 992 yards, 16 TDs) ... TE Jaylin Brown (23 catches, 499 yards, 9 TDs) ... WR Kamden Perry (28 catches, 426 yards, 2 TDs) ... FB Paul Hutchins (38 carries, 256 yards, TD; 46 rec. yards, TD) ... QB Haynes King (88-162-5, 1,580 yards, 16 TDs; 16 carries, 187 yards, TD) ... RB Jaquan Edwards (89 carries, 629 yards, 9 TDs) ... OL Marcus Harry ... OL Gavin Roberts ... OL Parker Cox ... OL Kaylon Allen ... OL Danny Slayton Jr. ... DS Seth Farr ... P/K Chris Kessler (42 touchbacks; 39 punt average, L:51; 56-58 PATs; 8-13 FGs, L: 47)
Klein Collins: LB Donovan Mutin (6-1, 220; 66 tackles, 12 TFL, 9 sacks) ... LB Ethan Frazier (5-10, 200; 63 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks, INT, 3 FF) ... S Phillip Hill (6-0, 184; 45 tackles, 2 INTs) ... CB Kevric Wiggins (5-11, 160, 2 INTs) ... DL AJ Townsend (5-11, 240) ... DL Isaac Brown (5-10, 243) ... DL Caleb Blankenship (6-2, 229; 6 TFL, 4 sacks)
Keys: Move forward. Running the football against Klein Collins, who is allowing less than 100 yards rushing per game, will not be an easy task. The Tigers are solid in all three phases, starting with a defensive line that plays a very physical style of football. Behind them, the linebacker tandem of Mutin and Frazier doesn’t get much easier. After sputtering some in the midway point of district play, the Lobo ground game has picked up over the past four contests, rushing for over 1,200 yards. This is a game where gains of four to five yards are big positives to keep this sticks and clock moving. Getting some form of the ground game going will allow the passing game to fully open up, whether it’s the quick strike or taking some shots down the field. King praised the blocking ability of the Lobo wide receivers so the quick strike could be a go-to for the Lobos. Look for Longview to pull out all the stops and dig deep into the playbook for its offense, which has proven to be versatile in terms of how they have moved the football this season. Getting Carter going in both phases, continuing to utilize the duo of Williams and Edwards and letting King and company get to work can help the Lobos against a Klein Collins’ defense that has been absolutely shutdown this season, allowing nine points per game all year, including three shutouts.
He said it: “We’re going to have to do what we do. We knot it’s going to be tough sledding. It’s not going to be a track meet and they’ve given up 95 points for a reason: they’re good. We’re going to have to run the football a little bit and hopefully establish that or be consistent with it enough where we can hit a couple of pass plays. If they can make us one dimensional, then we’re playing into their hand. All of their linebackers are big, fast and physical and they’re doing that behind a line that can roll in six players. Winning the line of scrimmage is going to be tough but we have to find a way to do it. You don’t get a lot of big runs against this team, four or five-yard gains are big runs against these guys” -- King
WHEN KLEIN COLLINS HAS THE BALL
Players to watch
Longview: S Jephaniah Lister (104 tackles, 3 INTs, 4 PBU, 3 TFL, 2 sacks) ... CB Jalen Carr (9 INTs, 4 PBU, 3 blocked kicks) ... CB Roshodrick Harmon (14 PBU, 2 INTs, 41 tackles) ... DL JC Blakemore (63 tackles, 15 TFL, 7 sacks, 3 FR, 3 PBU) ... DL D’Marjai Dearion (7 TFL, 6 sacks) ... DL Luther Williams (10 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 FF) ... LB Kevion Bush (75 tackles) ... LB Ja’Vontae Writt (72 tackles, 9 TFL, 3 sacks, 4 FR) ... S Kyle Johnson (5 TFL, sack, 4 FF, 5 PBU, blocked kick) ... DB Davotrick Dotrey (68 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 FF, FR, 5 PBU, INT)
Klein Collins: RB Isaiah Spiller (174 carries, 1,153 yards, 21 TDs; 15 catches, 313 yards, 4 TDs) ... QB Carter Rhyne (75-120-2, 1,602 yards, 20 TDs; 37 carries, 169 yards, 3 TDs) ... RB Josh Powell (121 carries, 720 yards, 5 TDs) ... WR AJ Bennett (21 catches, 437 yards, 9 TDs) ... WR Jackson Loftin (14 catches, 333 yards, 3 TDs) ... OL Kameron Lewis (6-4, 300) ... OL Jonathan Toole (6-1, 290) ... OL Kentre Lackey (6-3, 290) ... OL Kenneth Cowart (6-2, 297) ... OL Jared Areallano (6-2, 265)
Keys: Longview will get a dose of their own brand of football with a smash-mouth, power run game of Klein Collins. To counter that, the Lobo defense must bring their style of defense, which has led them to this point: applying pressure and bringing some big hits. Like Longview, the Tigers run to set up the pass and do so with Spiller, who is a physical, downhill runner that can plant his foot and turn on a dime. The Tiger offensive line goes 300, 290, 290, 297 and 295 across the front and will meet a quick, physical and deep defensive line from Longview, who has allowed three yards per carry over the course of the season. Containing, using leverage and working angles will be key for the Lobos behind the line against both Spiller and Powell, who is a solid compliment to the Oklahoma commit. The Lobo defense has 39 sacks, 94 tackles for loss and 18 interceptions (31 total takeaways this season) and has bent but not broken with 26 stops inside the plus-40 side of the field this season.
He said it: “They’re just as physical on offense and that starts with Spiller, who can find a crease, stick it and go. He does a great job of being patient and finding the seam and when he decides to go, he can get it. Rhyne has the ability to run but he can throw it as well and Bennett is a go-getter. We’re going to have to fit gaps and tackle. They’re going to formation us with motions to try to get us misaligned and we’re going to have to do a good job of adjusting to it.” -- King
Did you know: Tonight is the first meeting between the two schools ... Longview is in the regional semifinal for the 10th time in the last 14 years ... Klein Collins is in the third round for the second-straight year and fourth time overall. The Tigers reached the state semifinals a year ago ... RB Spiller, a Scout.com 4-star junior, is committed to Oklahoma. OL Lewis is committed to Houston ... LB Mutin is committed to Houston and S Hall is a UNLV pledge ... Klein Collins was ranked No. 8 in Class 6A in the final AP poll of the season ... The Tigers’ season opponents are a combined 58-54 ... Two of Collins’ opponents, Houston Lamar and Atascocita are still alive in the 6A, DI bracket and both teams only loss of the year are to KC ... Longview’s 75 points against Dallas Jesuit were the most since the 1927 season and the most ever scored in Lobo playoff game
Twitter-sized preview: Longview faces its toughest task by far against a solid KC squad, led by a dominant defense. In order to move forward, the Lobos must create their own breaks and then capitalize in what proves to be a smash-mouth game of two similar styles.