LONGVIEW (9-3) VS. DENTON RYAN (11-1)
When/Where: 3 p.m. Friday, Mesquite Memorial Stadium, Mesquite
HAS THE BALL
Players to watch
Longview: Joshua Thomas (789 passing yards, 522 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns and six passing touchdowns) … Jordan Allen (1,158 passing yards, 101 rushing yards, 11 passing touchdowns and eight rushing touchdowns) … Jalen Hale (1,017 receiving yards, 34 rushing yards and 12 receiving touchdowns) … Taylor Tatum (738 rushing yards, 85 receiving yards, seven rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns) … Jarrett Lewis (638 rushing yards, 43 receiving yards and six rushing touchdowns) … DeKalon Taylor (227 receiving yards, 93 rushing yards two receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown)
Denton Ryan: Anthony Hill … Michael Gee … Kaden Kelly … Ravonte Blowe … MarQuice Hill … Mason Davis
Keys: Longview only scored 16 combined points in the previous two meetings with Denton Ryan, so a better offensive performance on Friday will be required to add another week to its 2021 playoff journey. Luckily for the Lobos, they have averaged 39.2 points in the 11 games since. The Lobos will need a full-group offensive outing to continue that trend this week. Dual-threat quarterbacks Thomas and Allen will be expected to step up, along withrunning backs Tatum and Lewis, and downfield weapons Hale and Taylor.
WHEN DENTON RYAN
HAS THE BALL
Players to watch
Longview: Devean Isaac (100 tackles, eight tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, three sacks, two interceptions and one blocked kick) … Chase Smith (86 tackles, five pass break-ups, four interceptions, three tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery) … Willie Nelson (69 tackles, eight interceptions, six pass break-ups, four tackles for loss, two defensive touchdowns and one forced fumble) … Ta’Darion Boone (81 tackles, six tackles for loss, one interception, one blocked punt, one forced fumble, one pass break-up and one sack) … Kaden Brooks (62 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven and half sacks, one interception, one pass break-up and one defensive touchdown) … Jeremiah Rougely (59 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles and one blocked punt)
Denton Ryan: Khalon Davis (1,659 passing yards, 48 rushing yards and 15 passing touchdowns) … Kalib Hicks (1,281 rushing yards, 84 receiving yards and 17 rushing touchdowns) … Jordyn Bailey (653 receiving yards, 45 rushing yards, six receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown) … Michael Davis (572 receiving yards, 40 passing yards, four receiving touchdowns and one passing touchdown) … Jesse Cruz (290 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown) … Antonio Thomas (208 receiving yards, 63 rushing yards and three receiving touchdowns)
Keys: Longview is well-aware of the 67 combined points that it allowed to Denton Ryan in the previous two meetings, so its defense needs a strong outing to slow down the opposition this week. The Lobos have only allowed 16.3 points to opponents in the 11 games since because Isaac, Smith, Nelson, Boone, Brooks and Rougely have produced strong performances on the defensive side of the ball. Those players will need to team up again to slow down an electric Denton Ryan offensive attack.
Did you know: Longview will play the third game of a football series for the second straight week … The Lobos improved to 3-0 all-time against Lancaster with last week’s 34-14 area round playoff win … They are aiming for their first win in three tries against Denton Ryan on Friday … Longview and Denton Ryan will match up in the Class 5A Division I Region II semifinal for the second straight year … The Lobos lost 27-9 on Dec. 26, 2020 … The other meeting opened the 2021 season and resulted in the Raiders’ 40-7 win on Aug. 28 … Longview has reached the third round of the 2021 postseason with three straight wins … The Lobos will try to snap an opponent’s 10-game win streak for the second straight week.
Last week: Longview 34, Lancaster 14; Denton Ryan 28, Magnolia West 20
Up next: The winner faces either College Station or Frisco Wakeland