HALLSVILLE - The playoff fates for both teams were sealed entering Friday night’s season finale between Longview and Hallsville.
For the Lobos, however, the chance to share a district title and grasp the top seed out of the district was on the line.
And the Lobos closed the regular season with an exclamation point.
Behind a school-record 685 yards of total offense, the Lobos rolled to a 63-20 triumph over Hallsville, clinching the Lobos’ 11th district title in the last 12 seasons and taking the No. 1 seed out of District 15-5A.
“We didn’t see this coming. Hallsville is a good football team,” Longview head coach John King said. “We got after them early and were able to crease some big runs.
“Give credit to our football team. They were playing for a district championship and a top seed and they played like it tonight. I’m extremely proud of their effort and how they went about their business. They came out an played tonight.”
Longview closes the regular season with an 8-2 overall record and shares the district title with Marshall and Texas High, who all tallied a 6-1 mark in 15-5A action. Hallsville will enter the postseason with a 6-4 record, including a 4-3 run through the district.
Now, the Lobos turn to a familiar foe to open the postseason in Lufkin with the bi-district meeting set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Rose Stadium in Tyler.
“Lufkin is going to be tough task. Everyone knows that,” King said. “The last two games have come down to one point and one play. I had a chance to watch them last week and they’re a much better team than they were when the year started. They play like it and are confident. We’re going to have to play our best football.”
Seven different Lobo ball carriers totaled 23 yards per carry to roll up 582 rushing yards, breaking a school record of 513 rushing yards set in 2004, according to Lobo historian Bill Simpson. Braylynn Anthony led that charge with 190 yards on nine carries in the first half, including four scores of 79, 80, 11 and one yards.
Austin Moore notched 138 yards on five totes, including a one-yard score. Kendrevian White tallied 105 yards on seven carries. Tyler Buchanan-Anderson added 83 on three totes, scoring on two with runs of seven and 71 yards. Gaylon Wiley rounded out the ground attack with a 29-yard score.
Michael Ross completed eight passes for an even 100 yards, including an 18-yard strike to Chris Braggs to bump Longview’s total yardage to 685 on the night, shattering the previous mark of 585 set earlier in the season against Pine Tree. Friday was also the first time the Lobos have hit the 600-yard mark, according to Simpson.
Jon Sorey hauled in four passes for 46 yards to lead the Lobo receivers.
Sophomore running back Josh Taylor led Hallsville with 133 rushing yards, including a 60-yard score for the Bobcats, who will meet Ennis in the bi-district round at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Van, according to HISD officials.
Roger McCuller went 7-for-16 for 112 yards through the air, including a 68-yard scoring toss to Andrew Southard. McCuller also had seven carries for 47 yards and Lance Hardman totaled 44 yards on the ground.
Rounding out the Hallsville scoring was Caden Thomson, who hit Coleton Lasseter for a five-yard touchdown.
Defensively, Ty Meissner had an interception for the Bobcats.
Anthony scored the contest’s lone touchdown in the first quarter on a 79-yard run. He bumped the Lobo lead to 14-0 on an 80-yard run at the 8:20 mark in the second quarter.
Hallsville responded quickly with a three-play, 89-yard response with McCuller finding a wide-open Southard of the middle, making it a one-possession game, 14-7, with 7:24 left until the break.
In that stretch, the Lobos scored on three-straight possessions – a one-yard punch in from Anthony, an 18-yard pass from Ross to Braggs and Anthony’s fourth score of the first 24 minutes on an 11-yard run, making it 35-7 at halftime.
Ross and Sorey connected on back-to-back passes of 14 and 15 yards, respectively, followed by a 51-yard rumble from Moore, who, two plays later, punched in his score.
After a three-and-out by the Lobo defense, White had a 26-yard run and Wiley took a keeper 29 yards to paydirt, making it 49-7 with 7:21 left in the third quarter.
The next snap, it was Taylor going 60 yards down the sideline for a Bobcat touchdowns.
White had a 28-yard run, setting up Buchanan-Anderson’s eight-yard score with 3:10 left in the third.
Hallsville answered again on a six-play, 65-yard drive with Thomson and Lasseter hooking up on a five-yard score.
One play later, Buchanan-Anderson was in the end zone again on a 71-yard run to close out a record-setting night for the Lobos entering the postseason.