LONGVIEW - Thursday, Longview's Doug Cox explained that a team would need develop a personality and a confidence to be a contender.
Friday night, the Lobos showed their not too far off their coach's expectation as they held off Dallas Carter 10-7 at Lobo Stadium in the team's final tuneup before district play begin's next week.
It also took a bit of character on the Lobos' behalf, especially after starting quarterback Mike Bobo went out with a twisted knee late in the second quarter.
Despite being dominated statically, Carter didn't go down without a fight. With 5:37 to play in the game, the Cowboys worked the ball from their own seven yard line to the Lobos' 16 with 1:53 left.
Cowboys' quarterback Robert Hall, who had alternated with Cedric Smith, got hot passing the ball. He finished the game with 109 yards, 81 yards coming in the Cowboys' final drive.
It was tight end Derrick Branch, who made the big play for the Cowboys with 66 yards of receiving. The second reception keeping Carter's drive alive. Longview's linebacker Mark Surratte had temporarily stalled the drive with six yard loss on a second-and-15 play.
But, it was Longview's Joe Davis, who had the biggest non-reception, tipping away a pas in reach of the end zone on a fourth-and-4 play for the Cowboys.
"I think the Green Wave really rose to the occasion," noted Cox. "I can't wait until Monday to see how much momentum we gained from this game."
In scoring, though, the point difference was a school-record 47-yard field goal by Steve Allgood with 7:33 to play in the third quarter.
Allgood also held the previous mark, a 45-yarder against Waco in last year's bi-district playoff game. This was only the senior's second varsity field goal attempt this season.
For the game, Longview dominated, reeling off 241 yards of total offense to Carter's 197. Wingback Eric Faggett and tailback Carl Johnson led the Lobo ground game, rushing for a combined 148 of those yards.
Losing Bobo, who had thrown for 315 yards in the previous two games, the ground game became even that much more crucial.
With Bobo on the sideline, Cox and his staff turned to backup quarterback Shawn Lawson.
"Shawn really came in and did a job didn't he?" Cox noted excitedly. "I was really pleased with how he handled himself out there."
The defense had cause to be excited as well.
"We knew we could come together and play like we were supposed to," said defensive tackle Chris Fuller. Friday's game was Fuller's first start after injuring a knee during two-a-days in August.
"We hung together and played hard. It was a big win for us," Fuller added.
For the third week in a row, the Lobos scored off their opening drive. And again, it was backup tailback Ray Allison who did the honors with a 2-yard run. David Hill's extra point with 8:05 left in the opening quarter gave Longview a 7-0 lead.
It was his fourth touchdown in the past two games after being named Longview's "Goal Line Man" in a 40-14 win over Fort Worth Trimble Tech the previous week.
Allison's score was only the second touchdown scored against Carter's defense, which had held John Tyler to a lone score and then shut out Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt a week ago.
Carter, which traditionally has always been an explosive team, was dragging all night, never really kicked into gear.
It took a couple of penalties against Longview to help set up Carter's tying touchdown. A late hit and pass interference call helped the Cowboys gain 29 yards in an 11-play, 66-yard drive.
Carter's drive looked to be been snuffed out with a 10-yard loss after facing a second-and-eight play at the Lobos' 16. But a pass inference call moved the ball to the 12 and although Longview's defense was staunch, four plays later Harvey Harper scored on a 1-yard plunge with 11:18 left before the half.
Eddie Gonzales extra point knotted the score.
"We want to be good and I think the kids showed that tonight (Friday). I thought with Bobo out and all, we showed that we could play hard. I was real pleased for the kids, because next week it's all for real," Cox said.
The win avenged a 19-0 loss to Carter last year. Longview only turned the ball over once, compared to three a year ago.
The Lobos now prepare to open District 13-5A play next Friday at home against Tyler Lee. The Lobos, after closing their opener, finished non-district play at 2-1.