IRVING - Johnny Fuller returned a punt 65 yards to snap a 7-7 tie and later scored on a one-yard plunge in the closing seconds to lift Longview’s top-ranked Lobos into a 21-7 Class AAAA quarterfinals’ victory over Dallas Carter here Saturday night in Texas Stadium before an estimated crowd of 17,000.
The Lobos will now meet Odessa Permian, who tied El Paso Coronado Saturday afternoon but advanced on a 3-2 penetration edge, in the semi-final at a site and time that was to be determined following Saturday night’s game.
Fuller, a speedy senior, gathered in a Carter punt at the Lobo 35 and retreated back to his own 24 before picking up a wall of blockers down the right sideline. He cutback in at the Carter 31 to avoid the last tackler and waltzed in for the score, which had been in a knot since late in the first period.
Longview went for a two-point conversion following Fuller’s sparkling return but Leo McCoy was driven out of bounds at the two-yard line by a hard-pushing Carter Cowboy defense, leaving the score at 13-7 with 8:37 left in the game.
Had Carter come back with another sore, it would have given the Pokers a 3-2 penetration edge. Thus, the Lobos’ attempt for two and possible lead.
But two excellent defensive plays on each of Carter’s next two possessions enable the “Mean Green” to hold its foe at bay and pave the way for Fuller’s closing touchdown.
On a third-and-six play from the Carter 27, cornerback David Morris leaped high to break up a Marty Morrison pass intended for tight end Dukes Derwin, forcing a punt.
Carter held on Longview’s ensuing possession and took control of the ball at its own 24 with 5:11 remaining in the game. On a third-and-seven situation, however, hard-charging end Gil Harris rushed through to drop scatback Bruce Chambers for a 10-yard loss on a reverse play.
Following a 45-yard punt on fourth down, Longview was in business at its 38. Two plays later, quarterback Llewellyn Fambles received a key block from end Steve Terry and scampered 23 yards on a keener around right end. A 15-yard Carter personal foul penalty was tacked on, putting the Lobos at the Cowboy 23.
Seven plays later, Fuller took the ball in from a yard out and Tim Martin connected with tight end Harris for a two-point conversion play and a victorious 21-7 lead with just six seconds left in the encounter.
The Cowboys were devastating in the opening quarter, taking kickoff and driving 67 yards in 12 plays for the game’s initial score, a three-yard end sweep by Bo Taylor with 7:20 showing on the clock. Paul Ray tucked the point after.
Longview countered with a 15-play, 70-yard march on the ensuing possession, Fambles capping the move with a three-yard end run of his own. Mark Bolton added the tying point with 2:25 left.
A fumbled punt enabled Carter to gain control at the Longview 36 moments later but the opportunity ended in a 31-yard missed field goal attempt early in the second quarter.
Longview wins stymied much of the time and ended the first half with 110 yards, 94 of it on the ground , and the two teams retired to the dressing rooms with a 7-7 knot.
The “Mean Green” played like its usual self in the final two quarters limiting the Cowboys to 44 total yards.
Tackle Hosea Taylor,a gigantic 6’5, 245-pound junior, came up with a key play midway through the third quarter when he dropped punted Sidney Roberts for a 15-yard loss when Roberts had trouble handling a low snap from center.
Fables also came up with a big defensive play when he sneaked up from his safety position to zip through the Cowboy line and drop fullback John Newhouse for a one-yard loss on a third-and-one play.
Tackle Steve Bradham was in on eight solo tackles and three assists, registering two tackles for 18 yards in losses, while linebacker Finis Snoddy chalked up 14 tackles, nine unassisted.
Next week’s semi-final match will pit two of the state’s top scoring defenses.