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ET Football: Wiley's wait is over: Senior takes reins as leader of Longview offense

By Hayden Henry
Aug. 20, 2016 at 8:49 p.m.

Longview's Gaylon Wiley throws a pass during spring football practice. The senior will be the starting quarterback when the Lobos visit Lufkin for Friday's season opener.

Before he even took a snap under center at Foster Middle School, Gaylon Wiley knew he wanted to be a quarterback for the Longview Lobos.

Now, as he begins his senior season, Wiley's wait is over.

"For me, it's been a long-time coming," Wiley said. "It means a lot to be, as a senior, to be the Lobo quarterback.

"Growing up, and from that time at Foster, to have the chance to be the Longview Lobo quarterback, to be in this role and to do what I can to lead this team, it just means so much."

Wiley took the role this past spring, cultivated it over the summer and has displayed his knowledge and command of the Lobo offense throughout fall practice. However, his transition to QB1 began during his junior season.

"The thing is, people say we're breaking in another new quarterback and it's one of those things where we are but we aren't," Longview head coach John King. "He was able to practice, as a junior, with the varsity for 16 weeks or longer.

"The terminology, commanding the huddle, understanding the different concepts -- he was exposed to and learned all of that this past season."

Serving as the No. 2 quarterback during the Lobos' run to the state quarterfinals in 2015 served him well, Wiley said.

"It was a great learning experience for me," the 6-3, 175-pound quarterback said. "It was tough because you always want to be out there playing but I learned so much. Michael (Ross) was a great quarterback and we talked constantly about what we saw out there.

"It helped me get ready for this season. It helped me tremendously."

Throughout the spring and fall, he's shown his arm strength and touch on the deep ball as well as the command in the huddle. With his frame, his ability to run the football has shown through.

"There's a lot of things that he does that people may not give him credit for, like running the football," King said. "They see the tall, lanky guy but he can move. He gives us that added dimension."

His attributes, King said, transcend the playing field as well. He added that Wiley's time on the track this past spring helped foster an added maturity to his quarterback as a multi-sport athlete.

"He's a tremendous leader and a guy that has a lot of great qualities about him as a person," King said. "Our kids gravitate toward him and rally around him. He's an integral part of everything we do from the offseason, to practice to game-planning.

"He's that type of player."

When asked to describe the role that the Class of 2017 has on what is showing to be a young Lobo team overall, Wiley pointed to the minor things.

"We've got to be here on time and ready to go," he said. "It's the small things. We've got to step up, be vocal leaders and show this team what it takes to get ready for this."

Typical of Lobo quarterbacks, Wiley will benefit from a large and experienced offensive line as well as several running backs and fullbacks.

"When we need those tough yards, we have total confidence in handing the ball the ball off to any of those guys and just having them back there is a big boost," he said. "They're all-around players — running, catching and blocking."

With a big smile, he added: "That offensive line, man, it makes my job a lot easier. They have great chemistry and are fighting every day. I like those guys."

The Lobos will break in a new receiving corps as well this season and Wiley feels confident in the connection they've built throughout the summer.

Heading into Friday's season opener with Lufkin before making their official return to Class 6A action a few weeks later, Wiley said the next few weeks will be crucial for the Lobos.

"We've got to find our strengths and weaknesses and improve on both," he said. "That starts in the film room and in practice.

"We've got to get ready."

(Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h)



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