Longview's district success on line against John Tyler

John Tyler's Duntayviun Gross (1) fumbles the ball with Longview's Traveion Webster (10) right behind him during the Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic on Saturday night Sept. 5, 2015. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Few teams in the state - maybe the country - can match the consistent success in district play of Longview football under coach John King.

The Lobos have won at least a share of the district title in 12 of 13 seasons under King. Even with a move up from Class 5A to 6A this year, they're once again piling up the wins against league foes.

Longview has a chance to clinch at least a share of a 13th title on Friday when John Tyler (6-1, 3-1 District 11-6A) visits Lobo Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

The 2016 Lobos (6-1, 4-0) aren't unlike many of their predecessors, predicated on running the ball on offense and locking you down on defense.

"Offensively our strong suit has been our running game; I don't think that's any secret," King said. "Defensively we get some turnovers, make some plays here and there. We're solid with our kicking game."

Longview is averaging 465.1 yards per game, 335.6 of which come on the ground, with two primary runners.

Senior Kendravian White (5-9, 215) leads the Lobos with 848 yards and 11 touchdowns on 134 carries. Senior D'Crayvan Polk (5-9, 180) offers a change of pace averaging 7.8 yards per carry, totaling 670 yards and seven touchdowns.

Longview has three others with at least 125 yards on the ground, including senior quarterback Gaylon Wiley (6-4, 185).

Through the air, Wiley has completed 46 of 87 passes for 895 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Junior Eric Timberlake is his favorite receiver, hauling in 12 passes for 297 yards and four touchdowns. Junior tight end Jaylin Brown has a remarkable six touchdowns on eight catches totaling 199 yards.

Longview leads District 11-6A scoring 47.1 points per game.

"The brand of football they play, mentally we've got to be ready for it," JT coach Ricklan Holmes said.

On the other side of the ball, Longview is allowing 364.7 yards per game (203.6 rush, 161.1 pass).

Sophomore defensive back Jephaniah Lister (5-9, 155) leads the team with 61 tackles, 42 of the solo variety. He also has five forced fumbles and an interception.

Junior defensive lineman Jadarrion Blakemore has racked up 10 tackles for loss. Seniors Traveion Webster and Ke'undre Wilson each have two interceptions.

The Lobos have seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries, scoring 24 points on defense.

Longview is third in 11-6A allowing 27.4 points per game.

Chris Kessler is averaging 40.5 yards per punt while connecting on 36 extra points and seven field goals.

"There's a reason why they're undefeated (in district)," JT coach Ricklan Holmes said. "They're solid all the way across the board: offense, defense, special teams. Coach King has done a great job with them this year just like previous years."

LIONS TALES: Tickets for the John Tyler-Longview game at Lobo Stadium will be sold on campus to students and faculty Thursday-Friday. Additional ticket sales will be at the TISD athletic office (807 W. Glenwood), T&T Lewis (903 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd) and Tyler Athletics (5520 Old Jacksonville Hwy) during regular business hours Wednesday-Friday. Presale tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. Gate tickets cost $6 for general admission.

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