LONGVIEW - In what was supposed to be a battle of two young, inexperienced teams, North Mesquite proved the better with a 28-14 win over Longview in both team's season-opener Friday night at Lobo Stadium.
It marked only the second time the two playoff experienced teams had met. The 13-5A Lobos had also fallen to the 9-5A Stallions 36-23 in a 1971 non-district game.
The Lobos were victimized primarily Friday by Stallion quarterback Steve Boyett. The 6'0, 160 senior rusher for 134 yards on 23 carries and scored three touchdowns.
"They have a good football team," noted a dejected Robert Bero, who was making his head coaching debut. "We knew he (Boyett) was a good quarterback coming in and we knew we were going to have to stop the option. We just didn't do a very good job of stopping it."
Boyett thoroughly confused the Longview defense with the option. He penetrated the end zone on runs of 2, 34 and 3 yards.
"We've got a long way to go as a football team," Bero continued. "We've got to get some consistently offensive and stop making little mistakes, and defensively we've got to get better. We're going to work hard to get better."
Trailing 28-7 entreating the third quarter, Longview threatened, however, to pull out a miracle as quarterback Shawn Lawson tossed his second touchdown of the game, a 62-yard completion to tight end Mike Tidwell. David Hill's extra point narrow the deficit to 14 with 6:08 to play.
A fumble by Boyett during the Stallions' proceeding series gave the ball back to Longview on the North Mesquite 31. Selywn Broughton, who was alternating every two series with Lawson at quarterback, engineered a drive to the North Mesquite two.
However, two back-to-back penalties - one for offsides and a second for holding, which negated a scoring run by Broughton - pushed the Lobos in the opposite direction. Twice from the 17, passes by Broughton and Lawson were dropped by receiver as Longview was forced to turn the ball over on downs.
Statistically, North Mesquite totaled 289 yards on the ground. Longview's traditionally rich running attack was limited to 88. Tailback Earnest Hunter led the way with 53 yards on 15 carries.
The Lobos did total 144 yards through the air, with Lawson completing 4-of-13.
But facing fourth down and only seven tickets left on the clock in the first half, Lawson displayed a spark of life in the otherwise listless Lobos by finding split end Renard Dixson not he end of a 45-yard strike to break the scoreless drought.
Up until then, Longview had managed a mere 58 yards total.
The Stallions, meanwhile, had punished the LoboMean Green unit for 156 yards and three scores. Most of the North Mesquite ground attack was engineered by Boyett, who rushed for 70 yards on nine carries, including a 34-yard scamper that pushed the advantage to 21-0 with 1:01 left before the half.
Thirty-five yards in penalties helped stall North Mesquite offensively or it might have been 28-0.
The Stallions produced pay dirt on three of their four first half possessions.
A Lobo fumble by Hunter on the team's first possession following the opening kickoff, put North Mesquite in operating business at Longview's 23.
With 11:08 to go, the Stallions stuck to the ground. It only took four plays before Richard Dulworth went off right tackle from four yards out at the 8:47 mark.
Longview's only spark prior to the touchdown to end the half was a 14-yard quick pitch to wingback Michael Reedy for 14 yards. However, the drive died at the 39.