Lancaster uses Longview loss as fuel, destroys District opponents en route to playoffs

After Lancaster’s 21-13 loss to Longview in Week 5, his season took a brutal turn.

“We knew after losing the game to Longview, no one else in our district could beat Longview,” Lancaster coach Leon Paul said. “We knew when we lost that game, we lost the district championship.”

Still with six weeks remaining in the regular season and potentially another month and a half of the playoffs after that, Paul knew his team had two options after the loss to the state’s No. use it as fuel.

His team chose the latter.

“This loss is probably the best thing that has happened to us all season,” said Paul.

In its three games since, Lancaster has demolished every opponent it has faced – outscoring its next three 179-22 – with a 55-9 victory over Tyler, a 56-6 victory over Forney and a victory of 68-7 over West Mesquite. .

His response was similar after facing his first loss of the season to Denton Guyer in Week 3, as he beat McKinney North the following week by 67 points.

But thanks to the loss of Longview, even as Lancaster flexes its muscles and boasts one of the deepest rosters in the Dallas area, Paul’s team has flown under the radar – despite being the team #4 in the region and state – as it is used this time to build and hold on to a new standard for when it is most needed.

Paul said some of his opponents hadn’t liked the way they’ve been playing in recent weeks, accusing Lancaster of unnecessarily upping the ante.

But Paul said scoring wasn’t what they were focused on.

“Our defence, they don’t want anyone getting the first down, and the offense thinks they should score every shot,” he said. “If we get it right in our scheme, even when we have our saves, they have to score.”

Over the three-game streak, Lancaster’s offense and defense grew to become some of the best in the region. Its defense, which has been a leader all season, ranks No. 2 overall for teams in the Class 5A zone and No. 1 in scoring defense, allowing just 12.88 points per game .

Lancaster’s offense, which had some catching up to do, has phenomenal depth with two starting-caliber running backs in Kyson Brown and Kewan Lacy (combined for over 1,000 yards and 20 touchdowns), two dependable quarterbacks in Carter Jones and JaQuavius ​​Pipkin (900+ yards each, 17 combined TDs) and one of the region’s top receivers in Ti’Erick Martin (792 yards, four TDs).

Throughout the season, Paul said he was impressed with how far he could push his team. Like after the West Mesquite win, where they won by 61 points, he said his players showed up for training on Monday and felt like it was a loss, in a sense, after watching a film and were even able to point out the negative points on the rating. rooms.

“If we had to play a team like Longview or a team like Timberview, it could have cost us dearly,” Paul said. “We don’t just think about who we’re up against. We think about who we are going to play.

And with just two weeks left in the regular season, Paul said they couldn’t help but think about who’s next, especially with the possibility of revenge against Longview in the fourth round – the team that kept them going. also eliminated from the playoffs. last season.

As the pre-season dark horse to make a deep run in 5A Div. Incidentally, Lancaster’s goal from the start has been to play 16 games and win the last one.

And a few defeats along the way haven’t changed that.

“Beating Longview is not easy. That’s why nobody did it,” Paul said. “Beating Timberview is not easy. That’s why nobody did it. Beating Frisco Reedy, who we may see in the second round, is not easy. That’s why nobody did it. So we have to play at such a level that when we see a team like that, we are ready.

On Twitter: @Lassimak

***

Find more high school sports coverage from The Dallas Morning News here..

Subscribe to our FREE HS newsletter