CORSICANA - The primary focus for the Longview football team owing into Saturday was containing Spring DeKaney running back Trey Williams. The Lobos managed to do this, except for two plays.
Those two plays combined with two other elements - a good DeKaney defense and a strong wind - to end Longview's 2011 season as DeKaney downed the Lobos, 17-6, in a Class 5A Division II Region II semifinal before 5,500 spectators at Tiger Stadium. The second of the two big plays was the second-half kickoff, which Williams returned 99 yards for a touchdown to give DeKaney a 14-0 lead and command of the game.
The other big play for Williams was a 58-yard touchdown run on a counter play with 11:04 left in the second quarter. Williams, who has verbally committed to Texas A&M, finished with 249 yards, 150 yards rushing , a total which would had been larger if a 93-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter had not been called back because of a holding penalty.
Ironically, both of Williams' big plays were against a western wind which had gusts of up to 28 miles per hour. Longview head coach said the wind was a factor on why his team kicks to Williams.
"I thought we could kick it out of the end zone," King said. "I thought we could get him with our coverage too."
Longview (11-2), ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press' Class 5A state poll, fails to advance four rounds deep in the playoffs for the first time since 2006. DeKaney (11-2), in its first year of postseason play, advances to Region II final against Spring ISD rival Westfield at 2 p.m. next Saturday at Turner Stadium in Humble. Westfield defeated Rowlett 33-25 in the other semifinal on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Lobos will have to ponder over their lowest point total since a 14-0 loss to Lufkin on Nov. 6, 2003. After Williams' kickoff return for a touchdown, the ensuing kickoff into the wind dropped into no man's land and DeKaney's Thaddeus Kuykendall recovered at the Longview 27-yard line.
However, the Longview defense stiffened, with Jordan Burton stopping Williams for a one-yard gain on a fourth-and-six play. The Lobos used the momentum of that play for a 78-yard drive, capped by a 26-yard touchdown run by Deontre Wilson with 6:34 left in the third quarter, although Israel Madrid's extra-point attempt was low.
That would be Longview's last first down of the game. Longview had a golden opportunity for a touchdown with 11:09 remaining when Burton recovered a fumbled pitch by DeKaney running back Sean Horn at the DeKaney 13-yard line. On the ensuing drive however, the Lobos were knocked back for minus-two yards and a 32-yard field goal by Madrid was knocked down by the wind and short with 9:46 remaining. Longview did not advance past its own 20-yard line the rest of the game.
DeKaney would ice the wind when a punt by Longview's Adam Mack was knocked down by the wind for an 11-yard boot, giving DeKaney the ball at the Longview 31-yard line and setting up a 28-yard field goal by Kevyn Dimas with the wind with 2:04 remaining.
It was a tough game for Madrid, who missed three field-goal attempts, two into the wind. Madrid had missed two field goals all season entering Saturday and had not missed an extra point since the season opener against Marshall on Aug. 26. The Lobos defeated Temple 24-3 two weeks earlier in a bi-district playoff at Tiger Stadium with similar gusts of wind.
"The difference was last time the winds were from the south. This time, they were from the west," King said.
The Lobos were also held scoreless in the first half, the first time they were held without points in a half this season, but they constantly had opportunities. Longview drove inside DeKaney's 40-yad line in all five drives of the first half but failed to score.
"The wind wasn't any worse than it was two weeks ago, but it was still a factor," Longview wide receiver Eric Hawkins said. "Whether it was a missed pass, a missed blocked or not finding the right hole in running, I think our problems were all of the above."
The wind limited Longview quarterback Bivins Caraway to 6-for-23 passing for 112 yards. Hawkins, who has verbally committed to the University of Arkansas, had three receptions for 64 yards to lead all players in his farewell game with Longview.
What may have hurt the Longview offense the most was it's struggle with its running game. The Lobos had 113 yards rushing on 38 carries, their lowest team total since 107 in a 42-23 loss to Allen, the top-ranked team in the AP Class 5A state poll at the time.
"We knew running the ball was the strength of their game," DeKaney head coach Willie Amendola said. "We wanted to keep them away from the second level and stop them around the line."
On the game's initial drive the Lobos moved 57 yards, converting a risky fourth-and-one on its own 29-yard line, but turn the ball over on downs at the DeKaney's 25-yard line.
On the ensuing drive, Williams bobbled a pitch and Longview safety Corey Bartley forced him to fumble and recovered the loose ball at the DeKaney 29-yard line. The Lobos would have a second-and-one situation at the DeKaney five-yard line, but back-to-back tackles for losses by DeKaney defensive Armand Nance (who had verbally committed to BOise State) and line back Myles Curl forced a field goal. Madrid's 30-yard attempt into a strong, swirling wind went wide right.
Longview's next drive ended when Mack attempted to run for a first down on a fourth-and-19 on the DeKaney 45-yard line but was stopped for a four-yard gain. A 24-yard punt by DeKaney's Jarrett Irving gave Longview the ball back. The Lobos moved 58 yards on their ensuing drive, including a 29-yard pass from Caraway to Braden King, but a 31-yard field goal attempt by Madrid with the wind was wide right.
The Lobos had one more good chance to score in the final two minutes as the wind picked up and knocked down an Irving punt for an eight-yard boot, giving Longview the ball at the DeKaney 36-yard line. With 26 seconds left in the half however, Curl forced Longview running back Tory White to fumble and Irving recovered at the DeKaney 18-yard line with 26 seconds left.
Longview had a 10-3 advantage in first downs as well as a 153-99 edge in total yards. DeKaney threw one pass in the first half, which was incomplete. Caraway was 5-for-12 for 89 yards in the first half, but no Longview runner had more than 28 yards rushing. Curl led all players with six tackles in the first half, his total for the game, while DeMarcus Lathan had five tackles for Longview. DeKaney finished with six tackles for loss, two by Curl.
While Williams produced big plays, his rushing yards was his second-lowest total of the season to a 139-yard game in DeKaney's 38-6 loss to Klein Oak on Oct. 8. Lathan said he was pleased with how the Lobos played Williams in general, although they didn't make adjustments specifically for Williams, which rivals.com rates the number two running back in the nation.
"We just ran to the ball like we normally do," Lathan said.
Saturday was the last Longview game for several Lobo senior standouts such as Hawkins, running back J'Haston Faggans, receiver D.T. Jackson, fullback Deontre Willons and offensive lineman Jhermikal Partner. On defense, the Lobos will say goodbye to players such as Burton and lineman George Polk and Larry Thomas.
The Lobos do have an above average numbers of returnees for 2012, which might have the Lobos playing in Class 4A, where they had back-to-back state runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2009. Offensive returnees include Caraway, White and tight end Colin Jeter. Defensive returnees include lineman Cornelius Williams and Jalen Porter, Lathan as well as defensive backs Bartley, Nakia Brown and Stephan Maxey.
"It will be hard saying good bye to 35 seniors on Monday," King said. "On Tuesday, next year begins with weight lifting."