LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - When you wear the green and white of the Longview Lobos, there’s a certain unspoken expectation that comes with representing the jersey. Part of the school’s winning tradition was on display Tuesday, as young student-athletes took time out of their summer to better prepare for the upcoming school year.
Students practiced agility and conditioning drills and lifted weights during voluntary workouts at the Longview High School’s football complex. The idea behind summer workouts is to lay a foundation and give students skill-set that gives them a chance to succeed in their field.
Tuesday’s workout included several middle school athletes already preparing themselves for the high school level.
“Hopefully, as a middle school student, they’ll embrace the training aspect of it,” said Casey Pearce, coach with Longview ISD. “Just work as hard as they can to improve their body, coordination, and those types of things.”
Pearce has been with Longview ISD for 14 years, serving as defensive coordinator, defensive line coach, as well as track coach. He said he encourages younger students to attend voluntary workout days, considering the expectations that are set not only by the Lobos football team, but every athlete who excels in their sport.
“[They] just kind of learn what being a Lobo is all about,” Pearce explained. “I think the carryover has been tremendous; we’ve been very successful. This year, we were able to put it all together and make it happen."
Elijah Johnson is one such athlete who sacrificed time from his summer break to work out with his older peers. The 8th grader is fairly new to Texas football, and he was not disappointed when he realized how much the Longview community embraced their student-athletes.
“It’s my first time being out here in Texas, so to see... everybody in the community so into that football [team], it’s just amazing to see,” Johnson said.
Johnson is training for a spot on the 8th grade Lobos team as a fullback and kicker.
“I’ll be really ready for next year, when my school is number one,” Johnson said.
Pearce added that football players aren’t the only ones putting in the extra work to defend their 2018-19 state championship title; the biggest thing he’s noticed this summer was a turnout of female athletes.
“This is the largest female turnout we’ve ever had,” Pearce noted. “It’s exciting to see because they’ve embraced the excitement around what’s happened, and I think they’re trying to create that tradition on their side.”
The Lobos defeated Beaumont West Brook 35-34 in Dec. 2018 to become the 2018 6A State Champions. It was the first time the school claimed the championship since 1937.
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