LONGVIEW - Longview didn’t have its all-district quarterback, but a strong rushing attack, big-play special teams and defense were enough Friday.
The Lobos bounced back from a blowout loss against Coppell in a big way, pulling away for a 30-14 win against North Little Rock at Lobo Stadium.
“Defensively we played well,” Longview coach John King said. “They’ve heard enough about how poorly they played the last two weeks. They knew they were better than what they’d been performing.”
Longview’s defense shut down North Little Rock star running back Altee Tenpenny all night. The Alabama commit managed just 70 yards on 22 carries and had just three runs of 10 or more yards.
“We came out and played big,” King said. “The defense played well with all those explosive skill kids they’ve got. I thought our defense stepped up and answered the challenge.”
Longview made big plays on special teams throughout the game.
Senior Nakia Brown put the Lobos on the board when he returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter. Brown fielded the line-drive punt and followed a wall of blockers down the Longview sideline for the score and giving the Lobos a 7-6 lead.
“That was huge,” King said. “It kind of got our sideline frenzied up. Kids got excited.”
Another big play by Longview’s special teams put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter. Senior safety Corey Bartley blocked a North Little Rock punt that bounced backwards 15 yards before defensive end Jalen Porter scooped it up and ran it in from the 3-yard line, extending the Lobos lead to 28-14 with 4:46 left.
Longview forced a safety on an attempted reverse with 16 seconds left.
“It was fitting with the punt return for a touchdown, block a punt, then the defense gets a safety to end it,” King said.
Longview relied heavily on its running game and rushed for 213 yards while playing without senior quarterback Bivins Caraway, who suffered a torn ACL in the season opener.
Senior running back Tory White broke the century mark for the second consecutive week, rushing for 104 yards on 19 carries and often dragging North Little Rock defenders for yards after contact.
“We did better tonight,” King said. “They’ve got some big old boys. Tory’s been a bruiser. He’s been running extremely hard and he’s getting close. He’s going to break a long run here before it’s over with.”
Senior fullback Antonius Sanders ran for 94 yards on just six carries and broke an improbable 65-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter.
Sanders took a handoff up the middle and appeared to be stopped by a pile of Charging Wildcats defenders, but the play wasn’t blown dead and he emerged from the pile and outran the North Little Rock defense for the touchdown.
Longview rotated junior Stephon Dunn and sophomore Dezmond Chumley at quarterback. Dunn completed 2 of 6 passes for 4 yards, while Chumley hit 1 of 4 for 6 yards.
“I thought we missed some throws that we could have made,” King said. “I know nerves were a part of it. I thought (Dunn) did a good job of making the right read and keeping us out of bad situations most of the night.”
Longview will host Marshall at Lobo Stadium next Friday.