PLANO - It took some trickery and some extra work, but after three weeks of frustration, the big fish did not get away from Longview's football team on Friday.
With winning points coming off a two-point conversion run by Blaine Tomlinson, and after a two-yard touchdown run by J'Haston Faggans, Longview knocked off Abilene 32-31 in overtime at Kimbrough Stadium. The Lobos lined up to kick an extra point after Faggans' touchdown, but from his position at holder, Tomlinson took the snap and followed his offensive line, which pushed the Abilene defensive line back enough to let Tomlinson slip into the end zone, and send the Longview bench exploding in celebration.
The surprising winning play has an appropriate nickname.
"It's called 'Lobo Surprise.' I started to go for two straight up, but the way they lined up, we decided to roll the bones," Longview coach John King said.
Longview (2-3) prevented its first four-game losing streak since 1965, although the three previous losses were to teams ranked in the Associated Press' state polls. Abilene, the defending Class 5A Division II state champions and the No. 6-ranked team in the AP Class 5A state poll, drops to 3-2.
"It's big for our kids. It will give them some confidence," King said. "I don't know if it's a sense of relief, but they finally caught a break."
Abilene forced overtime by moving 70 yards in the final 2:10, tying the game at 24-24 on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ronnell Sims to Herschel Sims on a fourth-and-four play with 16 seconds remaining in regulation. Abilene had possession first in overtime and went ahead on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Ronnell Sims to Darius Joseph.
While they came up big late in regulation and overtime, the Sims cousins were generally contained by the Lobos. Herschel Sims, who has verbally committed to Oklahoma State, was held to a season-low 15 yards on nine carries. Ronnell Sims was held to 12 yards on 12 carries, but did have 182 yards passing and three touchdowns. Ronnell Sims had 99 yards passing on his final regulation drive and overtime.
"We didn't deserve to win tonight. We made way too many mistakes that are just way outside the box of what we're coaching them to do. That's the frustrating thing. I know our guys are frustrated about that," Abilene coach Steve Warren said. "They're giving great effort, we've just got to get on the same page and we're not right now in all phases of the game."
King said defensive coordinator Casey Pearce deserves credit for a plan to stop the Sims.
"Our players did a great job staying in the right position and with pursuit," King said. "We were able to maintain leverage and not let No. 23 (Herschel Sims) get outside."
Longview quarterback LaDarrin Robertson accounted for 218 total yards of offense, including 116 yards rushing with one touchdown. Faggans was held under 100 yards for the first time in three weeks, but he had 81 yards rushing with two touchdowns.
Turnovers helped put Longview in an early hole. Possibly affected by an early-game drizzle, Robertson fumbled on Longview's opening drive, which was recovered Abilene's Anthony Carriola, setting up a 35-yard field goal by Christian Valero. Longview did rebound, moving 77 yards on its second drive, capped by a two-yard touchdown sneak by Robertson with 5:19 remaining in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, however, Herschel Sims had a 99-yard return for a touchdown, tying an Abilene school record originally set by David Winkles in 1959. However, Herschel Sims was knocked back for minus 1 yard on four first-half carries.
On Longview's next drive, Abilene forced Longview fullback Dakota Anthony to fumble and Carriola grabbed his second recovery of the game at the Longview 28-yard line. This set up a 19-yard touchdown pass from Ronnell Sims to Jeret Smith, giving Abilene a 17-7 lead with 1:03 left in the first quarter. Smith led all players with 11 catches for 92 yards.
The Lobos would rally in the last six minutes of the second quarter to take a 21-17 halftime lead. Longview cut it to 17-14 when Faggans sprinted through a big hole for a 26-yard touchdown run with 5:23 left in the first quarter. Faggans had 62 yards on 12 first-half carries.
The Lobos went ahead for the first time when Robertson connected with Tomlinson in stride for a 51-yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds left in the first half. Robertson had 115 total yards in the first half. Longview had a 226-43 edge in total yards in the first half, as well as a 13-2 edge in first downs.
Longview's defense was sparked by Britton Eastburn, who had two tackles for losses with a sack in the first half. For the game, Longview had seven tackles for losses. This included four sacks, one each by Lakeithen Barkins, Thomas Jones and Anthony Wiley.
The only scoring in the second half before the closing seconds was a 19-yard field goal by Kyle Jenkins with 2:09 left in the third quarter.
Longview has a bye next week before opening District 11-5A play against Mesquite on Oct. 8 at Lobo Stadium.