Rivaling on insanity: Marshall Vs. Longview

Albert Einstein was once credited for saying that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

The Mavericks just completed their 111th game against the Longview Lobos last Friday night with a 14-0 loss. I'll be the first to admit that the game was closer than I expected. The Maverick defense played an outstanding game and the offense was still working out its identity (which it looks like we found in the second half).

My thoughts on this series were once far-fetched amongst most, but has recently become common-place for many in Mav Nation. "It was closer than I expected". How did we arrive to that sentiment? A quick peak at the margins of victory for Longview the last two decades says it all:

2021: 14 points (14-0) 2020: 32 points (53-21)

2019: 53 points (53-0) 2018: 46 points (60-14)

2017: 34 points (41-7) 2016: 49 points (56-7) 2015: Marshall won

2014: 43 points (56-13)

2013: 12 points (26-14)

2012: 48 points (48-0)

2011: 30 points (30-0)

2010: 22 points (31-9)

2009: 17 points (47-30)

2008: 29 points (50-21)

2007: 34 points (41-7)

2006: 3 points (38-35)

2005: 12 points (28-16)

2004: 25 points (40-15)

2003: 33 points (49-16)

2002: 28 points (42-14)

2001: 5 points (28-23)

2000: Marshall won

Longview's average margin of victory since 2001 has been 28.4. PPG. It's been 38 PPG since 2016 with the Mavs having lost six in a row and 20 out of 22. Yes..... (2-20) since 2000. Ouch.

And there have been some really good Maverick teams since 2000 that still lost to the Lobos. Two state finalist teams in 2004 and 2005 both lost to Longview. Region semifinalist teams in 2007, 2009, and 2018 also all lost to Longview. Only the 2015 region semifinalist Mav team got the upset over the Lobos (28-25).

To be fair.... Longview is in the midst of the greatest era of Lobo football in their program's history. They are unequivocally the best program in East Texas in 5A/6A and it hasn't been close. Longview has been to the playoffs 20 consecutive seasons dating back to 2001. In that time....they won a state championship in 2018, lost two state championship games in 2008 and 2009, been to the semifinals in 2010 and 2017, quarterfinal appearances in 2002, 2007, and 2015 and five region finalists in 2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2020. Very few programs in the state have had a better 20 years than Longview has enjoyed. They've won at least 10 games in a season 13 times since 2001. Just incredible.

But the Mavericks haven't just struggled against the Lobos at the varsity level.... it has been at the junior varsity and freshman levels too. This season.... the JV lost 28-0 to the Lobos. The ninth grade team lost 42-0.

A Marshall freshman team has not beaten Longview since 2005. A Marshall JV team hasn't beaten Longview since 2004. That's consecutive losing streaks of 16 and 15 seasons respectively.

All of this to say: IS IT TIME TO LET THIS SERIES GO? Not just at the Varsity level...but the freshman and JV levels too.

I understand the 111 years of history..... I DO. This entire site got started back in the 90's for the sole purpose of remembering our glorious past. 628 program wins.... it puts Marshall among the elite. But the Lobos are in an even higher stratosphere with well over 700 wins.

I also understand the economics of this game. Aside from the 2020 and 2021 games... due to COVID-19, this is a given sellout at each stadium. That's BIG money for both programs. There is also the travel savings to practically having a home game no matter where the game is played.

But are these reasons enough to keep this series alive?

There is a reason the University Interscholastic League classifies schools every two years. It's to make the level of competition as fair as possible between schools of similar enrollments. Lufkin isn't playing Waskom. Texas High isn't playing DeKalb. Tyler isn't playing Canton.

Marshall is a middle of the road 5A Division II school with an enrollment in the neighborhood of 1500. That's similar to Nacogdoches, Pine Tree, Texas High, and others in 9-5A.

Meanwhile......Longview is one of the largest 5A Division I schools in the state. They were a 6A school as recently as 2019 with an enrollment of over 2100.

LHS has about 700 more students than MHS. That's a pretty significant difference.

Perhaps there is a reason no other 5A-Div II schools in East Texas have shown much interest in playing Longview... even if the Lobos had an open slot in the schedule. If Marshall was to vacate that slot, who would fill it in East Texas 5A? Texas High? Hallsville? Nacogdoches? Whitehouse? All doubtful.

Is this game really benefitting Marshall any longer?

Is playing in a non-competitive game (more often than not) doing the team any good?

Instead of playing a game that you lose by 30-40 points annually.... why not play a TOUGH competitive game against a quality opponent? Marshall use to do that annually before the Longview game became a non-district game in 2002.

This isn't about replacing the Longview game with a powder-puff game. No one wants that. No one wants to drop the series because we don't want to lose. It's about playing in a game that's beneficial to or lose.

There are numerous regional programs that could bring a quality September game to the Mavericks. Sherveport Byrd, Bossire Airline, Bossire Parkway, Monroe Neville, Ouachita, West Monroe, Ennis, Corsicana, Kilgore, Mesquite Poteet.

No..... none of those teams will sell out Maverick Stadium. No.... Marshall likely won't sell out any of their stadiums either.

But doesn't a 21-17 win..... or a 14-10 loss against a quality program do you more good than an annual 53-14 beatdown?

And it doesn't mean the series with Longview has to end never to be resurrected again. If the Maverick program returns to elite status again, then the series could come back. If Longview's "Golden Age" was to "come back to Earth" a little... we can talk.

Realignment is looming again this fall. Marshall is sure to remain a 5A Div II school. Longview will likely remain in 5A Div I, but could always jump back up to 6A. This alignment will open the door for a new schedule for 2022 and 2023.

Is it time to consider walking away from the Lobo series? 3-4 non-district games (depending on district alignment) could bring about a fresh look.

Kilgore, Carthage, Shreveport Byrd, Parkway, Airline, Corsicana, New Caney, Ennis, Royse City...... they could all be a part of a new look schedule. There are plenty of candidates from North La, East Texas, DFW, Centex, and North Houston.

In the famous words of Kenny Rogers...... you gotta know when to talk away... espeiclally if it's for your own betterment.

What do you think? Or am I just insane?

Have a great week Mav Nation



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