LONGVIEW - Ball control was the name of the game here Friday night, but it took a sterling defensive effort by Greg Brown to preserve a 6-0 District 14-AAAA win for Longview over Nacogdoches.
After the Lobos had pushed across the lone touchdown of the night with 7:40 left in the first half, Jim Tutt booted the kickoff some three yards deep in the Nacogdoches end zone.
In what seemed to be a foolhardy move, the Dragons' Kenneth Randle took the kick and came out running and running. He broke in to the clear at the Dragon 35 and was on his way. Except for Brown.
The senior safety with 4.4 speed came from nowhere to pull Randle down from behind at the Lobo 12 after a 91-yard return. Seven plays later, the Lobo defense had stiffened with the help of a holding call and turned the ball over to the Lobo offense at the four.
It was all Longview in the second half as the Dragons had their hands on the ball for only 13 offensive plays in the final two quarters. The only problem was, Longview was its own worst enemy, with penalties and fumbles stopping two potential scoring opportunities.
When the game ended, the Lobos were camped at the Nacogdoches one after a 13-play drive that ran out the final 6:30 of the contest.
Dinky Edwards led the offensive thrust statistically with 112 yards on 24 carries, but it was quarterback Kenny Jackson who was the main cog in the Lobo offensive scheme.
Jackson rushed for only 41 yards on 14 carries, but he was thrown for 21 yards in losses while trying to pass. It was the senior signal caller's best game of the year. He connected six of 16 passes, with six more being dropped, for 89 yards.
The second play of the game came as a surprise as the usually ground-oriented Lobos saw Jackson hit Reno Hutchins with a 39-yard pass-run play that put the ball at the Nacogdoches 36. Five plays later, however, a fumble gave the pigskin to the visitors at the Nacogdoches 16.
In addition to his touchdown-saving tackle, Brown came up with a diving interception on the second play of the fourth quarter to give Longview the ball at the Nacogdoches 46.
While Longview was controlling the ball almost at will offensively, the Dragons had more than their share of problems with the Mean Green on defense.
Twenty-two rushing attempts gave the Dragons only 33 yards. Quarterback Melvin Ikner went to the airways 18 times, completing only five for 53 yards. All total, the Dragons could crank out just 86 yards total offense.
In addition to Brown's theft, junior Rex Owens stole a Ikner aerial and returned it 15 yards to the Nacogdoches 47 in the first quarter to thwart the Dragons' first offensive series of the night.