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ET Football: Lobos cap intense spring with Green-White Game

By Hayden Henry
May 19, 2015 at 10:10 p.m.

Longview quarterback Cameron Castleberry looks for a receiver during Tuesday's May 19, 2015 Green and White Scrimmage at Lobo Stadium. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

Four weeks of a high-octane spring practice slate for the Longview Lobos culminated Tuesday night at Lobo Stadium in the annual Green-White Game.

In front of a large contingent of fans gathered for the scrimmage, the Lobos capped spring football in similar fashion.

"It's been the most physical spring practice that we've had in a long time," Longview head coach John King said. "I thought the kids held up well for the most part day-in and day-out.

"The steps were made in the right direction for us to become a more physical football team and fill some holes that we had."

Like the 150-plus fans gathered at Lobo Stadium, the coaching staff got the final look at the team as they broke camp for the summer. The large number — over 160 combined between the varsity and junior varsity squads made for what King described as a spring that was a little different than in years past.

"Overall, it has to be one of the most unusual springs we've had with the weather, the number of kids that we had come out for football and the number of unknowns that we had to have answered.

"Some of them are answered and there are some that will take some time in August to decide."

Addressing his team for the last time during the school year, King reminded them that August 10 will come quick. For returning center Johnathan Sneed, the months before that date arrives are just as crucial as the past month has been.

"We're going to have to fight," Sneed, one of three returning starters on the offensive line said. "We've got to continue to grow together as a team. The summer is going to be really big. We've got a lot of work to do to be where we need to be. It's the little things on the field and we've got to step up, mature and come together.

"We're on the way."

Ameron Dean, who returns at cornerback after a standout junior season, said the Lobo defense has transformed over the past few weeks.

"The past four weeks have been hard at time and other days have been good," Dean said. "There's been a lot of work and lot of guys coming out and doing things in order to get better.

"We've come a long way from the first day."

OFFENSE

Tylan Miller steamrolls a deep Lobo backfield and, although limited while nursing an injury, showed what was expected coming in with second-effort runs out of the backfield and catches out of the slot.

"He didn't have a heavy workload and that was by design," King said. "We've seen enough ot what he can do and he definitely could've handled more. He's a guy that we know can do things."

Carrying the workload with the first team was junior-to-be D'Crayvan Polk, who his spring with a number of long runs sliding through the Lobo defense.

"He's an explosive running back and he had the chance to crease a few today and he hit them," King said. "In doing the things that he did last year, hopefully he'll be a year wiser, more developed and things will come a little easier for him and we've seen that this spring."

Austin Moore's junior season was erased with an injury but the fullback finished strong in bouncing back, proving to be a hard-to-tackle force.

"Coming in, we weren't quite sure how he would handle the workload coming back from the injury and he practiced every day and practiced well," King said. "He got some of the question marks out of his head. It' takes time to come back from that injury. He was a little tentative at time but that went away quickly. He got more physical and confident each day and we saw both today."

The biggest question looming over the offense was at the quarterback position, having to replace three-year starter Dezmond Chumley. Michael Ross and Cameron Castleberry battled each day, not wasting a snap and that was the case on Tuesday. With a heavy rotation at wide receiver, which included catches from Andrew Washington, Chris Bragg, Devin Mims and sophomore-to-be Jaylin Bush, the two made the most of it on Tuesday.

"I saw both quarterbacks do good things and I saw both make some bonehead plays," King said. "Both had drops and both made bad throws. Then both had good throws and good runs.

"We were trying to mix them in with the ones and twos to give them the proper evaluation. There was some lack of continuity but both are effective players, they can manage the game and lead the team.

"It's something that we're going to have to evaluate on video and sit down and make a decision."

DEFENSE

The 'Mean Green' defense set the tone early and turned in a strong day with King praising the front four and permeated it back.

"I thought the down four had a good day with pass rush and they did a good job stopping the two-back stuff that we ran at them," King said. "They cranked it up to another level and flew around and made things happen."

Stacy Nelson and Kybrin Sheridan return as starters. Sheridan had a tackle for loss and a forced fumble amid heavy rotation up front, including Trevor Allison, who made a number of stops behind the line.

Behind him, Kobe Davis and Ja'Qauvion Faggans solidified the linebacker position, along with Kendrevian White, who saw time both ways this spring. Another two-way player, Traveion Webster took up post at safety for just the third time this spring.

"We saw those guys show up quite a bit today," King said. "Davis, White and Faggans, who I think is a solid player, played strong. Webster looked more comfortable back there today. He's a big, physical kid. He's raw but was able to settle in and make plays."

AUGUST COMES QUICK

Now comes the summer for the Lobos, which includes 7-on-7 as well as a summer workout plan. Beginning June 8, the Lobos will hold workout sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with times of 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Then, as King reiterated, Aug. 10 comes quick.

"It's very important that kids are showing up and working out with teammates and develop that camaraderie that you need to be a winning football team," King said. "It's not that we haven't done that throughout the offseason but you can't do all of that from November to May, including the spring we had, to all of sudden stop in the summer. It's just as important as the offseason."

In total, questions were answered, spots were filled and a foundation set for when that August Monday arrives.

"I think we accomplished what we set out to accomplish today and this spring," King said. "We've got a lot of video to evaluate and work to be done.

"I feel like we've had a productive spring and we answered the questions that we needed to answer to be ready when the fall arrives."

NOTE: For more from Tuesday's Green-White Game, see the Lobo Insider blog on ETVarsity.com

(Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h)

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