DALLAS - Longview football players LaDarrin Robertson and Joe Brown say prayers together before every game they play together as well as at halftimes. It’s debatable on how much of a level their play on Saturday was divine, but it was definitely fine.
Both Robertson and Brown had big individual performances that spilled over to their teams in a 52-28 win over Belton in a Class 5A bi-district playoff at Kincaide Stadium. Robertson accounted for 176 total yards and three touchdowns, with all three scores coming in the first half. Robertson helped Longview to its highest point total of the 2010 season.
Brown had two fumble recoveries as well as an interception with a 61-yard return when Longview had a 38-14 lead with 10:19 remaining, ending the competitive stage of the game. Longview would have held Belton to its lowest point total of the 2010 season, but the Tigers scored a touchdown and two-point conversion with 13 seconds remaining.
Belton quarterback David Ash, who has verbally committed to the University of Texas, was 26-for-41 for 275 yards and three touchdowns, but 80 yards and two touchdowns were after Brown’s interception. Ash was intercepted twice, with a Tyson Dixon pick and 26-yard return for a touchdown with 1:38 remaining providing the coup de grace for the Lobos.
Longview (7-4) advances to face South Garland (8-3) in an area playoff next Saturday at Kincaide Stadium. The game will start either at 4 or 6 p.m., depending on if it’s the only game at the stadium that day or part of a doubleheader. South Garland defeated Dallas Lake Highlands 42-10 in a bi-district playoff on Saturday at SMU’s Ford Stadium in University Park. Belton ends its season with a 5-6 record.
Robertson had a huge first half, rushing for 111 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries, helping the Lobos build a 24-7 halftime lead. Robertson fueled 210 yards for the Lobos in the first half, which got going after a hiccup on its first drive.
Longview was in scoring position immediately, as Nakia Brown forced Belton receiver Wolf Mahler to fumble on the first play from scrimmage and Joe Brown recovered for Longview at the Belton 25-yard line, one of two first-half recoveries for the safety. However, on a third-and-nine at the Belton 11-yard line, Belton’s Jared Barber forced Robertson to fumble. Although Longview recovered, they had to settle for a 43-yard field goal by Kyle Jenkins.
Belton moved the ball 59 yards on its next drive. The Tigers faced a third-and-10 at the Longview 17-yard line, but on perhaps the most important play of the half, Belton center Taylor Harris snapped the ball over Ash’s head, forcing Belton to punt after a 25-yard loss.
Longview took advantage of Belton’s misfortune with an 87-yard drive, capped by a 12-yard touchdown run by Robertson on a sweep with 10:35 left in the second quarter. Belton had another play of misfortune on its next drive as Ash, who averaged 45.9 yards a punt entering Saturday, shanked a 26-yard kick. This set up Robertson’s second touchdown which was fortune for Longview as he fumbled the snap, but picked up the loose ball and sprinted through a big hole on the right side of the line for a 35-yard touchdown run.
Belton was able to put together an 80-yard drive on its next possession, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Ash on a fourth-and-one play with 3:51 left in the second quarter. Belton had a chance to cut the lead to single digits with 2:54 left in the first half as linebacker Davis Butler forced Dakota Anthony to fumble and Darrius White recovered before fumbling the ball out of bounds.
However, on the next play, the Lobos forced Belton receiver Adrian Henderson to fumble and Joe Brown recovered at the Longview 20-yard line. This started an 80-yard drive, capped by a Robertson touchdown of deception. Robertson faked a pass to the left, then ran to the right for a 12-yard touchdown run with 10 seconds remaining in the half.
Ash was 13-for-20 for 137 yards in the first half. Each team had four fumbles in the first half.
Ash’s misfortune in the kicking game, when the wind was calm, struck again with 8:33 left in the third quarter when from his own one-yard line he shanked a 24-yard punt. Ash averaged 26.3 yards on three punts.
Longview took advantage of the kick when J’Haston Faggans dragged tacklers for a 12-yard touchdown run to open the second-half scoring with 6:38 remaining in the third quarter. A 47-yard kickoff return by Henderson set up a three-yard touchdown pass from Ash to Kenny Shuler with 4:24 remaining in the third, but then tried an onside kick which Quaveon Cole smothered at the Belton 48-yard line. This helped set up an eight-yard touchdown run by receiver Jovorius Poole, who had a season-high four rushing attempts for 31 yards.
Brown’s interception set up a two-yard touchdown run by Faggans, capping a solid effort by the junior tailback, who had 84 yards on 19 carries. Faggans helped the Lobos rush for 266 yards on 47 attempts.
Jonathan Paysse led Belton with seven receptions for 90 yards, but Belton was held to 74 yards rushing on 19 carries. Anthony Wiley had six tackles for Longview. JaQuale Darden added five tackles while Britton Eastburn and Thomas Jones had 1˝ sacks each.