LONGVIEW - Two things are obvious in the aftermath of Friday’s football game between Allen and Longview. Allen is worthy of its ranking and Longview’s pass defense needs work.
Quarterback Alec Morris and receiver Andrew Rodriguez spearheaded an impressive Allen offense, which powered past Longview 42-23 in a matchup of state-ranked teams before a sold-out crowd of 10,000 spectators at Lobo Stadium.
Morris – who has verbally committed to the University of Alabama – likely ensured Allen (3-0) will maintain its No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press’ Class 5A state poll by going 25-for-35 for 365 yards with five touchdown passes while adding one touchdown run.
Rodriguez was also stellar, making 11 receptions for 212 yards and two touchdowns, his second 200-yard game of this season.
Meanwhile, Longview (2-1), ranked No. 8 in the Class 5A state poll, suffered its largest margin of defeat at home since a 33-14 defeat to Monroe (La.) Ouachita on Sept. 14, 2000. Allen’s passing success comes after John Tyler had 292 passing yards last Saturday in a 38-22 Longview victory.
Allen had 498 total yards of offense without running back Jonathan Williams. Williams, a verbal commitment to the University of Missouri, missed his second consecutive game because of back spasms. Struggling against a size disadvantage with the Allen defensive line, Longview had 106 yards rushing on 33 carries.
“Our troubles on offense were at the line of scrimmage. They whipped us in the line of scrimmage,” Longview head coach John King said. “On defense, it was pass coverage. There was a lack of a pass rush too.”
Allen converted four consecutive drives for touchdowns, the fourth an 83-yard march capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Morris to Matt Cornell to give Allen a 28-3 lead.
Unlike two years ago, when Longview rallied from a 17-0 deficit for a 28-25 victory, the Lobos could not rally. The Lobos could get no closer than a 12-point deficit after Eric Hawkins caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from Bivins Caraway with 10:11 remaining, cutting Allen’s lead to 28-16 when a fake two-point conversion run failed.
Allen sealed the deal later in the fourth when Morris found Cortland Tolbert for touchdown passes of 24 and 8 yards to build a 42-16 lead with 1:46 remaining. Allen has won three of the four meetings between the schools in the past four years.
“In the four years we have played Allen, this is the best of those teams,” King said.
Longview had trouble preventing Allen from building a 21-3 first-half lead. The Lobos especially had trouble containing Rodriguez, who had a half among the best in recent memory for an opposing receiver. Rodriguez had seven receptions for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
Rodriguez first struck on a 32-yard scoring strike from Morris with 5:29 left in the first quarter. His second touchdown came with 2.6 seconds left in the first half, when he beat double coverage for a 31-yard touchdown.
Perhaps Rodriguez’s most important grab was one that demoralized the Lobos early in the second quarter.
Longview had Allen at its own four-yard line and facing a third-and-23 play, but Rodriguez caught a 38-yard pass to get the Eagles out of the hole.
This continued an 83-yard drive, capped by a one-yard touchdown sneak by Morris, who was 11-for-14 for 194 yards in the first half.
Longview got a degree of momentum on its last first-half drive. The Lobos moved 52 yards, but couldn’t convert on two pass plays at the Allen eight-yard line and had to settle for a 25-yard field goal by Israel Madrid.
Allen had a 266-93 edge in total yards in the first half. Brandyn Bolling had five tackles and a sack for Allen while Jordan Burton had five tackles for Longview.
Burton and DeMarkus Lathan would share the game-high in tackles for the Lobos with seven each.
Chad Adams led Allen with seven tackles while teammate Thaddeus LaGrone, a verbal commitment to Baylor University, had a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter.
Caraway finished 9-for-19 for 192 yards passing.
Hawkins, a verbal commitment to the University of Arkansas, had three receptions for 92 yards, 106 total yards and has scored a touchdown in every Longview game this season.
Longview hosts rival Lufkin next Friday at Lobo Stadium.