Lobos wrap up spring drills with Green-White game
May 17, 2016 at 11:05 p.m.
There was a buzz in the locker room and in the stands Tuesday as football returned to Lobo Stadium.
Capping off the spring practice slate, the Lobos took the field for the annual Green-White Game in front of a large contingent of fans on hand to get a glimpse of the 2016 team.
After three weeks of a heavy practice load, Tuesday was about the fanfare but at the same time, there was work to be done.
"It was good at times and sloppy at times," Longview head coach John King said. "We came out injury-free and that's a big thing. We were able to get a ton of snaps in, a ton of players on the field and on video as we head into the summer."
Fight or fold has held as a tempo for the Lobos this spring with 44 seniors gone from this past season's team. Less than half are returning lettermen, and even fewer hold the title of returning starter.
"There was good and bad both ways," King said. "I thought our defense played well at times, we had a few big plays and a few busts.
"We expected our offense to be ahead of them on Week 1 and that lasted about a week and they caught up."
Now the Lobos embark on the summer, full of workouts, before football returns once again to Lobo Stadium on Aug. 8.
Here's a few things from both the Green and White from Tuesday:
As a junior, quarterback Gaylon Wiley spent the season as the backup, learning the ins and outs of the Lobo offense. Throughout the spring and on Tuesday, Wiley displayed that knowledge on the field, controlling the huddle, finding wide receivers and making things happen with his feet.
A number of times on Tuesday, Wiley bought time in the backfield, surveyed the field and delivered several deep strikes. In another instance, he tucked the ball, albeit an option or scramble, and gained yards
He was aided by, once again, a large Lobo offensive front, anchored by three-year starter Kendall Starling at guard and reinforced by Ahmad Farrier at center, tackles Billy Taylor and Levondrick George and right guard Cameron Quinney. The Lobos average 312 pounds across the front.
Another three-year starter on offense, D'Crayvan Polk found the edge with his speed and worked out of the slot, hauling in a long pass that set up a touchdown for the first team. Kendrevian White turned in a strong day with several thundering runs of 10-plus yards, including one where the senior-to-be leaped a would-be tackler. Joining the mix was sophomore-to-be Jessie Anderson, who got a large number of reps with both the first and second-team offenses.
There was one receiver back with varsity experience from a year ago in junior-to-be Eric Timberlake, who hauled in two long passes and is poised to be a deep threat in the Lobo passing game. Tight end Jaylin Brown pulled down a pass and receiver Kendle Johnson made a diving snag over the middle on one of the Lobos' drives that ended in the end zone.
Roshodrick Harmon set the stage quickly in a strong start for the Lobo defense by breaking up a pass on the first snap of the day, setting up two resets forced by the Mean Green unit.
Making the move to cornerback, Harmon embodies a new-look Lobo defense that set out in a 3-4 scheme this spring.
"Our coaches have done a great job in structuring our defense and getting the right guys on the field to run the scheme we're going to hang our hats on and the kids bought in," King said. "I think our offense tried to big boy them at times but they wouldn't let them at times."
As was the case throughout the spring, the Lobos used heavy rotation on the defensive front with Chase Davis, Josh Moon and D'Marjai Dearion seeing plenty of time.
On the edge, Traveion Webster, who recently picked up his first collegiate offer from the University of Louisiana-Monroe, and rising sophomore Cameron Starling flew around to the football, as did returning linebacker Kobe Davis.
Onward and upward
The work doesn't stop now that the summer has arrived.
"The summer is going be very crucial for us," King said. "Our kids need to show up, work out and get ready to go physically and mentally. We've got 7-on-7, there's camps to go to all along with our summer workouts."
The Lobos will host league 7-on-7 play on June 13, 20 and 27, all beginning at 6 p.m. at Lobo Stadium. The Lobos will also compete in two 7-on-7 state qualifying tournaments on June 11 in Lufkin and June 18 in Tyler.
That all sets the stage for Aug. 8, when official workouts begin heading into a scrimmage with Pine Tree on Aug. 19.
A week later, the Lobos travel to Lufkin, followed by a trip to Marshall before returning home for Dallas South Oak Cliff on Sept. 9.
After that, it's a return to the state's largest classification and the beginning of District 11-6A with a contest with Mesquite Horn on Sept. 16.
"We've played in the top classification for a lot of years and it's always different when you go back up," King said. "The last time we went back up, we went through some growing pains early on. A lot of that had to do with the seniors we lost and the schedule we had. That's kind of a mirror image of where we are now.
"You look back to 2010 and we started 2-3 before making a deep run. We didn't schedule any wins in non-district. Our goal is to play good football teams and we open with two-of-three on the road.
"From now, it's about continuing to progress and improve every week."