ALLEN - Longview and Waco Midway have engaged in some absolute wars in their brief but storied history of colliding in the postseason.
Saturday will go down as another battle for the ages.
This time, however, it was a heartbreaker for Longview that saw the Panthers advance in the postseason with a 28-26 win over the Lobos in the Class 6A, Division II state semifinals on a cold and wet day at Eagle Stadium.
With the win, Midway advances to the state championship game and will take on Cy Fair at 7 p.m. Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Longview, in the state's final for for the first time since 2010, concludes its season at 13-2.
"Waco Midway is a good football team and congratulations to them," Longview head coach John King said. "They earned the victory.
"I'm proud of our kids, our team, our coaches and what they've meant to Lobo football throughout the year. My gut feeling tells me the state championship was played here tonight."
Midway scored its final touchdown with 5:46 left in the third quarter to go ahead 28-13, but it was far from over at that point.
Longview, as it did throughout the season, dug in and found a way, using a bend-but-not-break effort from its defense backed by a gritty showing from a young Lobo offense.
"To be honest, I never got nervous and our kids didn't either, there's a belief that these kids have," King said. "Even when we were down 15."
Longview answered quickly with a halfback pass from Keilyn Williams to A'Darius Carter with 4:20 remaining. On the next Midway possession, Jephaniah Lister blocked a punt, setting up a short drive capped with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Haynes King to Jaylin Brown to pull the Lobos to within two points with 11:52 left.
Roshodrick Harmon gave the Lobos life with an interception in the end zone with 8:13 left. But Midway's defense had an answer as well.
Following the pick, Longview's drive stalled the 25-yard line with 4:04 left before a field goal sailed wide left.
Again, the Lobo defense found a way, forcing a quick three-and-out.
A third-down Longview pass attempt was picked off with 1:05 left but, once again, the Lobos got another shot when Jared Reese recovered a fumble at the Panther 38-yard line.
After a 21-yard run from Williams, the Midway defense stuffed a run, forcing a 29-yard field goal attempt that missed wide left with three seconds left, sending Midway on to the state championship game.
"We got within striking distance and had a chance, then had another chance then the good Lord shined on us and we had another chance," King said. "We just came up a little short but these kids are going to find a way to play and they got after it today."
Williams finished with 127 yards on 22 carries for the Lobos and had a 27-yard touchdown pass. Sophomore quarterback Haynes King finished 15-of-32 passing for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Brown had four catches for 62 yards, including the 15-yard touchdown catch. A'Darius Carter had six catches for 78 yards and scoring hauls of nine and 27 yards.
Chris Kessler booted a 30-yard field goal in the first half for the Lobos.
Midway, led by a 260-yard, three-touchdown night overall from Oklahoma commit Tanner Mordecai, out-gained Longview, 395 to 390. James Fullbright had 143 rushing yards on 23 carries with one touchdown for the Panthers.