MIDLOTHIAN - Everything that could go wrong for Longview’s offense did on Saturday night.
The Lobos turned the ball over seven times and Austin Westlake scored three defensive touchdowns en route to a 38-10 win in the 5A Division II Region II semifinal.
The Chaps’ first 21 points came on defensive scores and they took advantage of several other key turnovers to end Longview’s up-and-down season a game shy of the regional final.
“Tonight wasn’t our night,” Longview coach John King said. “We didn’t protect the football. But the only thing that’s going to heal this is going to be time. I know it’s going to hurt right now, but they’ll get over it. Great group of kids.”
The loss snapped Longview’s five-game winning streak entering the game, ending a year filled with several key injuries, a few big wins and several disappointing losses.
“I just told them how proud I was of the team, particularly the 27 seniors, what they had to endure throughout the year and how far we’ve come from district play to being in the third round,” King said.
The Lobos (9-4) held Westlake without a first down in the first half and allowed just 166 yards of offense in the game. The Chaps weren’t able to score an offensive touchdown until late in the fourth quarter, a defensive effort that kept Longview in the game.
“Our defense played great,” King said. “I don’t think they scratch if we don’t allow them to get points off turnovers.”
The Lobos led 7-0 after turning a Westlake fumble into Antonius Sanders’ 4-yard touchdown run with 4:48 left in the first quarter.
But then Longview started turning it over.
Junior running back L’darrius Peterson was stripped midway through the second quarter and Westlake’s John Dodd returned it 35 yards for a touchdown to tie the game. Two plays later, Canyon Manske intercepted Lobos sophomore quarterback Dezmond Chumley and returned it 35 yards for another score.
The Chaps led the remainder of the night.
Chumley finished 8 of 18 for 131 yards and had three interceptions, while also losing a fumble that was returned for a score in the third quarter.
His second interception ended a Longview scoring opportunity with less than a minute left in the first half. Senior receiver Justinn Spady slipped on his route and Chumley’s pass was intercepted at the goal line by Dodd, ensuring the Chaps maintained their 14-7 at the half.
“We had a chance to get points and that was disappointing,” King said. “But we’ll learn from it.”
Chumley’s third-quarter fumble was returned 12 yards for a touchdown and pushed Westlake’s lead to 21-10 after Longview cut into it with a field goal.
The Lobos nearly made a huge play to swing momentum and get back into the game late in the third quarter.
Sophomore defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson appeared to get a hand on a Westlake punt, causing it to travel just 10 yards. Longview senior cornerback Nakia Brown picked it up and raced 62 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.
But Henderson was penalized for roughing into the kicker, a penalty that negated the touchdown return and allowed Westlake to retain possession. King said he thought the ball was tipped by Henderson, but the official disagreed.
“If you get that one, things may flip for you,” King said. “You’ve got the wind and a four-point game.”
The Chaps stretched the lead to 24-10 on Michael Barden’s 48-yard field goal with 8:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Despite the penalty, Henderson and nose guard Cornelius Williams played a key role in holding the Westlake offense to 64 rushing yards on 31 attempts.
“They had good games,” King said. “We knew we had a chance to hold up inside and give them problems. And we did. We got tired there at the end.”
Longview tried to rally, but Chumley was intercepted for the third time on the ensuing possession. Westlake scored its first offensive touchdown off the turnover and added a late touchdown with 3:21 remaining.
The Lobos turned it over for the seventh time on their final possession when backup quarterback Stephon Dunn lost a fumble.