The Longview Lobo football squad had an outstanding season reaching the State Quarterfinals and just falling short of moving beyond that.
This, was reason to celebrate.
The Lobos held a banquet in honor of their team and the people who help them along the way recently and the night was full of accolades, cheers and inspiration.
The night was kicked off by Coach John King announcing each of his varsity team members, who were able to walk out of the giant helmet one last time. The players were announced by name, as well as what awards had been granted to them through the season.
Coach King went through the list of supporters to the football program, recognizing the special supports of Good Shepherd Medical Center, Longview Regional Medical Center, Chic-fil-a and Peters Chevrolet. The honorees were presented with a special football signed by the entire team from this past season.
The coaching staff and boosters were honored as well – the list was full of people who support the Lobo football program.
Individual honors were given out after the meal. The winner of the offensive MVP of the lobos this season was given to Tylan Miller. Assistant Coach Oscar Wilson gave the honor to Miller stating that, “This award is given to the player who puts everything on the line for his team. When you talk about putting it on the line, this guy got hurt and missed a couple of games, but came back determined to be the best that he could be for this football team. In his last game with the team, he rushed for over 200 yards and two touchdowns – never giving up at any point.”
The defensive MVP award was given out next by Coach Casey Pearce. The award was given to Kybrin Sheridan. “You will probably hear about what a national championship team will go through to reach the point they are at, this young man has been through a similar process,” stated Coach Pearce. “This young man learned to trust and matured both physically and mentally. Especially mentally, he became a guy you can rely on and one that would get the rest of the team motivated when they were feeling down.”
The next three awards went to three senior players who will now be named as “Permanent Team Captains.” These young men were outstanding on the field as well as for their teams on and off.
The first award went to Tim Clay, given by Coach Tony Favara, who stated that Clay, “Is a big man on the field, but has an even bigger heart off of it. He is well respected in the locker room for the person he is on and off the field. ”
The next team captain award went to Michael Ross given by coach Chris Vallery. “You could always tell he had some ability, and that he had leadership qualities with the respect that he earned from his teammates. We noticed that he was always harder on himself than we were on him as coaches and he just continued to get better and better as the season went along – he loves the game of football above all.”
The third team captain award went to Bryan Gilliland given by Coach Pearce. “This guy took the time and the work put in to become the athlete he is today. Not that he was without talent, but he worked hard for everything he got. He played offense and defense, and he never questioned anything we asked him to do. We could always rely on him to be there no matter what we asked.” Gilliland was also given the teams “Iron Man” award for playing on both sides of the ball and for his work ethic on and off the field.
The scholastic award was given by Coach Randy Huffstickler to Daniel Martin. “This award is four years in the making – as soon as you step onto this campus you are working towards this award in the classroom,” stated Coach Huffstickler. “This is based on class rank and GPA – this winner was ranked number 20 in the class with a GPA of 4.61.”
Also honored at the event was the Academic All-State team members including. This year the team had nine award winners – honorable mention winners were Arren Lemons, Shay Massey, Joyradyn Rollins, and Michael Ross, second team member was Zach Gipson and first team members include Bryan Gilliland, Cody Jenkins, Daniel Martin and John Sorey and student trainer Roniya Haynes was also named honorable mention. This was a school record for the team, as Coach King stated, “This is how you win football games, with good smart football players.”
Scholarship awards were also given on the night a team scholarship from SportTyler that was given to Zach Gipson as well as the Booster Club Scholarship that was given to Austin Moore, Stacy Nelson, Marcus Polk and Gipson.
The night was capped off by Coach King speaking on the past season as well as what the future will hold for the team. The squad is losing several seniors but will still continue to move forward and continue the winning tradition.
“The first order of business this season for us was to restore order, to get ourselves back to being the dominant team in East Texas,” stated Coach King. “We needed to move forward and continue to move forward despite bumps along the way. The leadership of this senior class was the big part of this team and the reason we could move forward. There aren’t many pictures like the one we got to make this year, its hanging in our hallway and it will stay there – thank you for a great run.”