SHREVEPORT - The Texas Longhorns didn’t fare too well Saturday against their Mississippi competition, but the same can’t be said about the Longview Lobos.
A running game that got stronger as the game progressed and a relentless second-half pass rush combined with two fourth-quarter Olive Branch special teams mishaps to secure a 27-26 Longview win in the Battle on the Border nightcap at Independence Stadium.
Longview junior tailback JaMycal Hasty finished with 200 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns. He ran 28 times for 145 yards and one touchdown and added second-quarter touchdown receptions of 30 and 25 yards from junior quarterback Dezmond Chumley. The 30-yarder was a highlight-reel, one-handed snag over a defender on a left-seam route that tied the game 20-20 with 1:33 left in the first half.
Hasty’s 25-yard touchdown grab came less than a minute later on a swing pass following senior safety Travin Howard’s interception of Olive Branch junior quarterback Ross Trail, who completed 18 of 33 passes for 265 yards, three touchdowns, the lone interception and added a one-yard touchdown run.
Longview (2-1) led 27-20 at halftime and relied on a defense that recorded five second-half sacks to hold on for the win.
“I thought we’d have our hands full and we did. It was a game of missed opportunities for us on offense in the third quarter. Had great field position and didn’t get any points, and just never got in sync in the second half offensively,” said Longview head coach John King. “I thought our defense stepped it up in the second half. We simplified some things and didn’t have as many busted coverages, which we had in the first half giving up some easy throws. We got a little more pressure on the quarterback, and they made plays. The defense won the ball game for us in the second half.”
Olive Branch (3-1), Mississippi’s No. 4 team in the state’s Class 6A rankings, would have tied the game following Trail’s one-yard touchdown sneak about a minute into the fourth quarter, but the extra-point attempt hit the left upright and ricocheted off, leaving Longview with a 27-26 lead.
With 2:12 remaining, Olive Branch missed a 39-yard field goal wide left to preserve Longview’s one-point lead. Hasty then followed the Lobos’ big offensive line for 24 yards over the next five plays, allowing Chumley to take a knee twice to end the game.
Hasty ran for 93 yards on 17 second-half carries as Longview finished with 171 rushing yards. The Lobos held Olive Branch to minus-29 rushing yards thanks to three bad snaps and the half-dozen sacks, which more than negated the paltry 44 positive rushing yards for which senior Marcus LeFlore and junior Dontavis Bruce accounted.
Longview’s defensive line, playing again without college defensive tackle prospect Zaycoven Henderson (foot fracture), pestered Trail the entire second half. Omar French, DeRodrick Alexander, Decord Flanagan, and Trey Lanier each had a solo sack, while Alexander and French combined for one and French and Flanagan combined for another. Dillion Winn also added to the Lobos’ pressure.
“We loosened some alignments but we didn’t change anything,” King said of Longview’s second-half pass rush. “Same kind of blitz packages.”
Bruce had a strong game catching the ball. He grabbed six passes for 76 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown that gave Olive Branch a 20-13 lead with 3:04 left in the first half. Senior Warren DeWalt caught three passes for 43 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half. Junior KyKy Austin caught four passes for a game-high 102 yards.
Trail’s availability was in question entering the game because of eligibility issues after transferring last spring from Wynne, Ark. But, as he did in Olive Branch’s first three games, Trail played and had a strong performance. He already holds offers from Louisville and Memphis.
DeWalt and Texas-bound Longview senior receiver Dorian Leonard exchanged first-quarter touchdown grabs before a bad punt snap set up Longview at Olive Branch’s 1-yard line for Hasty’s touchdown run and a 13-6 lead early in the second. DeWalt and Bruce then caught touchdowns from Trail for the Conquistadors’ 20-13 lead before Hasty gave the Lobos the lead with his late first-half touchdown receptions.
Two illegal blocks negated a 60-yard Howard punt return touchdown that would have given Longview a 34-26 lead with about nine minutes left in the game.
Longview hosts rival Lufkin on Friday. Olive Branch returns to North Mississippi to host Tunica Rosa Fort.