LONGVIEW - Ronnie Hunter scored three short yardage touchdowns, two in the second half, and David Childs came up with a key fourth period fumble recovery as the Longview Lobos nabbed a 19-14 season-opening win over Fort Worth Eastern Hills here Friday night.
It was the 18th straight year for the Lobos to open the campaign with a triumph and the second straight over Eastern Hills.
The game matched Longview's ground-crunching running attack and Eastern Hills' passing game. Hunter and the Lobos won out in the end, thanks to Childs' alertness after splendid Highlander receiver Gary Lockett was hit and bobbled the ball at the Longview 36 with 2:44 remaining in the game. Longview did not move the ball out of dangerous territory and punted away, then withstood one more aerial assault by Vincent Spruell, who hit on seven passes for 143 yards, including two scoring tosses to Lockett.
Lockett caught six of Spruell's seven passes, one of 46 yards in the second period and one of 36 in the third stanza for the touchdowns. Phil Humphreys kicked both point afters.
Hunter, however, bulled his way in for three six pointers to make the difference. The 6'2, 190-pound senior carried the ball 28 times and picked up 117 yards on the night to lead a Longview offense which churned out 245 yards on the ground. He did most of his damage in the second half with 21 carries for 96 yards.
The Lobos took the lead with a Hunter one-yarder with 8:43 left in the second quarter and added Jessie Floyd's PAT, only to see Eastern Hills bounce back with the Spruell-Lockett connection, which also put the visiting team ahead, 14-7, just 43 seconds into the second half with the 36-yarder.
Hunter closed the gap to one, 14-13, with a two-yard blast with 3:06 showing in the third but Floyd's PAT was blocked by Dean Moon.
Eastern Hills drove to the Longview 17 late in the third quarter but was halted by the Mean Green Lobo defense.
Longview took control of the ball with 8:06 left and Hunter capped a 10-play, 78-yard march with the game-winning from five yards out.
The Highlanders had just 70 yards rushing, all by Jeff Atkins, but Spruell kept his mates in the contest with a seven-of-13 performance. Gahlen Johnson for Longview contributed 89 yards on 12 carries, but he carried only twice for 14 in the second half. Kenny Frazier was four-of-seven for 39 yards in debut as the Longview starting quarterback.
The Lobos spent much of the first quarter on the Highlanders' end of the field, after a 40-yard scamper by Johnson and some stiff defensive play, but failed to score. They drove to the Eastern Hills' 25 the first time they got the ball and to the 13 the next time, only to come away empty handed each time. The second possession was thwarted when Floyd's 30-yard field goal was wide right.
Longview, which defeated Eastern Hills by a 28-13 nod a year ago, plays host to another Cowtown team, Paschal, next week in Lobo Stadium.