LONGVIEW - It wasn’t pretty but at the end of the day, the scoreboard read in Longview’s favor.
Penalties, miscues and bad decisions marred it but the Lobos capped a perfect run through District 15-5A play with a 42-28 win over Hallsville to cap the regular season on Friday night at Lobo Stadium.
Amidst the ugliness, two things were constant for the Lobos: running back Tylan Miller and timely defensive play.
All going against a Hallsville team with their backs against the wall, fighting for their spot in the postseason. The loss, paired with Marshall’s win over Sulphur Springs, eliminated the Bobcats from postseason contention.
“They came in with a lot of intensity and they came in and played exactly like I thought a David Plunk team would do,” Longview head coach John King said of the Bobcats. “They played their tails off.”
For Longview their season continues with a bi-district meeting with Lufkin next week at 7:30 p.m. at Rose Stadium in Tyler.
“We didn’t play the best football we’ve played all year. We didn’t play smart, didn’t secure the ball, made boneheaded decisions at times. We’re a better football team than we played tonight. Some things are going to have to be better if we want to continue this season.”
Longview took the ground in a 351-yard showing, led by 200 yards from Miller, who turned in a season-high four touchdowns. Quarterback Dezmond Chumley added to the ground attack, finishing with 83 yards rushing, including a 43-yard score.
“Tylan ran the ball well for us when he had room to run and we weren’t getting beat up front,” King said. “Big night out of him and that’s a good thing because we needed it.”
The Lobos coughed up two fumbles and finished with a season-high 11 penalties, totaling 104 yards.
Jakoryian Walker pulled down three interceptions at opportune moments for the Lobos.
“Big night for Jakoryian – all three picks were as timely as they could’ve been,” King said. “Played well, good eye on the ball and was where he needed to be and where he was supposed to be.”
The night didn’t start off as ugly as it got at times with Longview taking the opening drive 74 yards, with Miller getting on the board with a two-yard run, completing the regular season in which Longview walked away with points on its opening drive.
Hallsville moved the ball to start their night, as they did throughout, driving to the Lobo 35 before a turnover on downs.
Longview marched quickly with Miller finding paydirt for the second time in the first quarter on an eight-yard run for a 14-0 Lobo lead.
Hallsville again was driving before the Lobos recovered a fumble, which they in turn immediately fumbled and recovered again, setting up inside the Bobcat 10-yard line. On the next snap, the Lobos gave it right back, with Lance Hardman scooping up the ball and running 93 yards to put Hallsville on the board.
Dewayne Johnson recorded a sack on the next possession for Hallsville, forcing a Lobo punt. Hallsville constructed a 10-play, 79-yard drive with Johnson taking an end-around six yards to knot the contest, 14-14, with 4:29 left until halftime.
Longview answered with a quick drive, set up with an 18-yard strike to JaMycal Hasty – his first outing this season for the Lobos after being cleared to return following an injury – and capped with a 34-yard scoring run from Antonio Carter.
Walker picked off his first past on the next drive and Longview scored quickly on a 34-yard keeper from Chumley to take a two-score lead into the locker room.
The third quarter was when it got ugly for the Lobos with two interceptions from Ben Dewoody and a Hallsville 34-yard scoring drive where the Bobcats gained six yards from scrimmage due to four personal foul penalties. Kha’lil Sneed, who led Hallsville with 74 rushing yards, scored from four yards away.
A one-score game, Dewoody hauled in his second pick and another personal foul put the Bobcats at the Lobo 33-yard line before Walker picked off his second pass of the night.
A crucial Bobcat penalty on fourth down gave the Lobos new life and Chumley answered with a 43-yard run.
Hallsville converted a third down and Wyatt Wolverton hit Coleton Lasseter for a six-yard score on fourth down to make it 35-28 with 5:09 left in the contest.
Miller had a pair of 19-yard runs before finding the end zone on a five-yard run – his fourth of the night.
Hallsville drove from their own 14-yard line before Walker sealed the Lobo win with his third pick of the night to give the Lobos the 42-28 win as Longview ran the table in district play.
“We’re definitely proud of that,” King said. “We had a hard-fought ballgame tonight and the kids answered the bell when they needed to and made plays when we needed to.”
Now it’s round two with rival Lufkin, which handed the Lobos a 44-14 loss to open the season back in August.
“It’s time to get healthy and get a plan together and it better be a good one because we’re about to face a good football team. It won’t be easy and we’re going to have to go earn it.”