LONGVIEW - Clifford Ward rushed for 170 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Longview Lobos to a 27-6 rout over the visiting Thomas Jefferson Patriots Friday night at Lobo Stadium.
Ward, a 5'10, 164-pound sophomore scored on runs of 38, 48 and one yard as Longview quickly built a 27-0 halftime lead. Ward accumulated 163 yards at the half, carrying only one more in the second half.
The Lobos, although rusty, proved to be better in all phases of the game. Quarterback Derek Grant guided the first team to touchdowns on its first two possessions of the contest.
Longview added another touchdown in the second quarter after a turnover and closed the first half with a 30-yard halfback pass from Sammy Broughton to Nathan Harris. Grant ran in for the two-point conversion.
"I thought the team played together as a whole," said a relieved head coach Doug Cox. "The effort was there and I'm proud of the team."
Cox would be proud of the first half as the Lobos defense limited Jefferson to four first downs and 98 yards rushing. Middle line backer Carlos Lee came up with a fumble recovery which led to a Lobo score and Kyle Jones added an interception to the Patriots woes.
Tailback Randy Johnson proved to be the Dallas visitors only offensive weapon rushing for 123 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Most of his yards were in huge bursts of 44, 27, 15 and 18. Patriot quarterback David Powell completed only two of 15 attempts and had two interceptions.
Playing mostly a second string unit in the second half, the Lobos had problems moving the ball. Through the night Longview was penalized for 87 yards, and also lost five fumbles. Jefferson had six flags for 65 yards and lost three turnovers.
"We had a lot of mental errors and the play was sloppy," said Cox, "but we got ready to play. We want to be a better team, and we're going to iron out our problems. We'll improve with each game."
With a strong nucleus of talented players, Longview could only become better. "Ward," says offensive backfield coach Oscar Wilson, "will be the best running back Longview High has ever had before he graduates. He certainly made believers out of Thomas Jefferson."
Driving 73 yards on seven carries to the first score, Ward took the pitchout from grant, veered right and followed a path all the way to the score with 8:27 remaining in the first period. Chuck Tomberlain kicked the conversion.
Jefferson showed signs of making it an offensive contest, when Johnson burst over right tackle for 44 yards to the Longview 31. Jefferson never got any closer, turning the ball over on downs at the 34.
From there, Grant, a 5'11 senior, moved the first unit to the Jefferson 48 on four plays before Ward, following a key block by teammate Gahlen Johnson, ran around left end for his second score of the night at 5:01 still remaining.
After a series of turnovers, Longview again threatened to score, but was thwarted by a fumble at the Patriot six yard line. On its next possession, Longview went 37 yards with Ward running over right tackle for the score.
With 1:04 left in the half, Longview drove 60 yards for its final score.