IRVING - Longview's dream of a state football championship came to an abrupt end Saturday at Texas Stadium as a long-time nemesis gave the Lobos a rude awakening.
Plano, which has eliminated Longview from the playoffs in four of five meetings, captured a 17-12 Class 5A quarterfinal victory.
Longview ends its season at 10-3-1. Plano, 12-2, advances to the semifinals to meet either Hurst Bell or Wichita Falls, who played late last night here at Texas Stadium.
The Wildcats had rolled over nine consecutive opponents, scoring at least 30 points in eight games, to set up their clash with Longview.
But it was obvious from the outset this game would be no breeze for either team.
Plano rebounded from an early 6-0 deficit with two touchdown passes - both on fourth down and long - to take control. The Wildcats then held off Longview's comeback attempts to move a step closer to the state championship.
"They had a good team," Plano coach Tom Kimbrough said of Longview. "All the close games we've had this year we've lost. This is the closest game we've won."
The game's key play occurred with 6:46 remaining in the third quarter when Plano receiver Jason Davidson and Longview safety David Henderson leaped for a Danny Needham's halfback pass in the end zone.
The players came down together and the officials ruled duel possession, which give the ball to the offense. Consequently, Plano was awarded a touchdown and R.D. Lasher booted the extra point for a 14-6 Plano lead.
"I thought Dave had that one," said a dejected Longview coach Doug Cox. "He had it and then the other guy (Davidson) got there. It wasn't a tie, I don't think."
Still, Plano had the lead and all the momentum when the Lobos could manage just one yard and was forced to punt on the ensuing possession.
But momentum is fickle and the tide soon turned in Longview's favor. Dennis Austin bobbled a pitch from quarterback Bobby Schrader and Joe Brookins recovered for the Lobos at the Plano 47-yard line.
The fumble, only Plano's second turnover in four playoff games, inspired the Longview offense, which quickly took advantage.
Quarterback Kirt Griffin faked a handoff inside and sprinted around a sealing block, down the right sideline for 20 yards to the Plano 22.
Jimmy Smith followed with runs of 12, seven and two yards for a first-and-goal just inches from the goal line.
Griffin, who scored Longview's initial touchdown on a sneak, dived behind center Mike Clark for the score with 1:51 left in the period.
The Lobos attempted to tie the game with a two-point conversion, but Eric Faggett was swarmed after he took a pitch from Griffin, leaving the score 14-12.
From that point the pressure fell on Longview's defense, which had to contain Plano's vaunted running game.
The Lobos forced a Plano punt but the Wildcats regained possession three plays later when Needham intercepted Griffin's pass for Rolanda Reese at the Longview 41.
Plano marched sep into Longview territory but a holding penalty nullified Schrader's 14-yard run to the one-yard line.
Eventually, Lasher came on to kick a 37-yard field goal with 8:52 left in the contest for a 17-12 Plano lead.
Longview's rally hopes were severely handicapped because of the field position. The Lobos had three more possessions, beginning on their own nine, 14 and 20.
Griffin who completed just one of 12 passes for five yards, couldn't find any receivers and as a result the Lobos couldn't find the end zone.
Plano secured the win when Jon Stephens, the Wildcats' leading rushers with 72, converted a fourth-and-one at the Longview 10 with less than a minute left. Schrader knelt with the ball on the next play as time ran out.
"I thought our kids played well," said Cox. "Our defense played super and our offense had two good drives.
"I think they can win (the state championship). I felt going in if we could win we could in the state championship. They have the type of team that cane in it all and if we beat them I felt we could in it all."
The Lobos were very sharp on their first possession, marching 72-yards in 12 plays for Griffin's first touchdown.
A 19-yard run by Faggett and a key two-yard blast by Smith on fourth-and-one at the Plano 32 highlighted the drive.
And on third-and-one at the 21, Griffin faked inside and lofted a pass to Reese, who was wide open in the end zone.
Jeff Boydston could only grab Reese for a 15-yard pass interference penalty, which put the all at the Plano six.
Griffin ran five yards on first down and bulled into the end zone on the next play with 5:21 showing.
David Hill's PAT failed when it rebounded off the right upright. The missed kick didn't have a bearing on the outcome, though, because Plano also held a lead in penetrations.
Plano retaliated by moving to the Longview 17 on its first possession.
But Darius Jones dumped Austin for a loss of four, and Schrader was sacked for a 12-yard loss by Lonzell Williams and Warren Smith. Lasher then missed a 50-yard field goal try.
The Longview defense, spearheaded by Warren Smith, Chris Fuller and Jones, shut down Plano's offense the rest of the half.
However, Longview's offense couldn't move either and was backed up deep.
With just over two minutes left in the half, Mike Bobo was forced to punt from his own end zone and Plano took over at the 32.
The Wildcats lost a yard on their first three plays. Then on fourth and 11, Schrader avoided Williams' rush, rolled left and spotted Davidson behind the Longview secondary. Schrader threw on the run and Davidson, diving, made the catch in the end zone with just 23 seconds left before intermission. Lasher added the extra point for a 7-6 Plano halftime lead.
Plano managed just 85 yards in the opening half with 32 coming on Schrader's scoring toss. The Wildcats, who thrashed Bryan 31-0 last week in regional, could only manage 41 yards rushing the half.
Longview didn't fare much better with only 51 on the ground and 56 total.
The game remained as close as the statistics. But Plano was able to come up with big plays, especially in its first drive of the half.
Facing a second-and-11 at midfield, Schrader kept around right end for 15 yards. Brookins was also flagged for a late hit on the play and the ensuing penalty put Plano at the Longview 17.
The Wildcats got to the 15 where they faced fourth-and-five. Needham took a pitch left from Schrader. He obviously wanted to pass but couldn't find an open receiver and threw the ball up for grabs in the end zone.