DALLAS - Longview linebacker Anthony Wiley believed South Garland’s running game was not going to be successful running outside against his team Saturday. He was right, but the Colonels also found that running inside was tough as well, and ultimately futile.
It added up to a game the Longview defense could be proud of, and a 27-14 victory over South Garland in a Class 5A Division II area playoff at Kincaide Stadium. South Garland entered Saturday averaging 258.9 rushing yards per game, but the Colonels could only gain 107 yards against Longview, including just 24 in the first half when the Lobos built a 17-0 lead. Longview coach John King said it could have been his team’s best half of defense this season, comparable to holding state-ranked DeSoto scoreless in the first half two weeks ago.
Wiley said the play of Longview’s defensive line was the key.
“It was the D-line. It was Thomas Jones, Doughboy (Jalen Porter) and Cameron Jones. They pushed their guys to the outside,” Wiley said. “They had no chance running to the outside.”
Longview (8-4) advances to a Region II semifinal to face Tomball at 7 p.m. this Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco. Tomball (10-2) defeated Austin Anderson 40-20 in an area playoff on Friday in Brenham. South Garland ends its season with an 8-4 record.
The Lobos also got a big game from safety Joe Brown, although it was for punt returns instead of his usual forte: hard hits. Taking advantage of line-drive punts, including two into a strong South wind, Brown had 97 yards on four punt returns and three of his returns led to 13 Longview points. Brown said his favorite return was his second, which went for 34 yards and gave Longview the ball at the South Garland 21-yard line. This set up Longview’s first touchdown, a two-yard run by LaDarrin Robertson, which gave Longview a 10-0 lead with 7:40 left in the second quarter.
“On the second return, I was thinking, ‘This is it,’” Brown said. “The returns were mainly because of the blocking of my teammates.”
Brown said the whole Longview team was inspired by linebacker Diop Johnson. Johnson’s father, Timothy, died after Longview’s bi-district playoff victory over Belton last Saturday and his funeral was Friday. Johnson played against South Garland, forcing a fumble.
“This whole game was for Diop Johnson,” Brown said.
The Lobos held South Garland to 41 total yards in the first half and two first downs, not allowing a first down until 1:33 remained in the first half. The Lobos had six tackles for losses with four sacks, including two sacks by Anthony Wiley. Wiley led Longview with six tackles.
Standout South Garland tailback John Lacour was held to eight yards rushing on five carries in the first half. Lacour was held to 42 yards on 14 carries, but he did cut Longview’s lead to 20-7 with 2:21 left in the third quarter. Lacour caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Stephan Turner, a pass which deflected off the hands of Longview cornerback JaQuale Darden.
South Garland attempted to rally after Lacour’s touchdown when Brice Brooks intercepted a Robertson pass on Longview’s next drive, Brooks’ eighth interception this season. However, the Lobos forced South Garland to punt on its ensuing drive, then went on a 67-yard drive capped by a nine-yard touchdown run by J’Haston Faggans with 4:16 remaining to ice the win. A key play was a 41-yard pass from Robertson to Jovorius Poole on a third-and-nine which moved the ball to the South Garland 14-yard line. Faggans led all players with 98 yards on 24 carries.
Longview didn’t score on its initial drive of the game, but the Lobos did move 48 yards before punting.
“The first drive was big because we flipped the field,” King said. “Having field position was big because it helped force them punt into the wind.”
Brown had a 28-yard return to the South Garland 49-yard line set up Longview’s first score, a 24-yard field goal by Kyle Jenkins with 11:12 left in the second quarter.
Longview also had a short field for its third score of the first half. A 28-yard punt into the wind by Jonathan Guerrero gave Longview the ball at the South Garland 36-yard line. A 21-yard pass from Robertson to Brandon Olson, the longest pass for either team in the first half, set up a 14-yard touchdown run by Dakota Anthony with 2:21 left in the second quarter, helping give Longview a 17-0 halftime lead. Anthony led Longview with 63 yards rushing on five carries in the first half, while J’Haston Faggans had 56 yards on 16 carries. Anthony finished with 86 yards on nine carries.
Brown’s longest punt return went for 41 yards, helping set up a 31-yard field goal by Jenkins to give Longview a 20-0 lead in the third quarter.
Standout Longview offensive lineman C.J. Greene, who missed practices this week because of a hyperextended elbow, played Saturday.
Longview finished with nine tackles for losses, two each by Wiley, Cameron Jones and Thomas Jones. Turner finished with 114 total yards for South Garland.