LONGVIEW - Darren Danielson was eager to prove his preseason billing as one of the top kickers in the state was no fluke. Longview coach Robert Bero was eager to give him a chance.
Danielson, following a time-to-think Bryan timeout, stepped back and calmly booted a 30-yard field goal with 10 seconds left to hand the No. 4 ranked Lobos a 17-14 non-district triumph over the Vikings here Saturday afternoon at Lobo Stadium.
The win kept Longview's record spotless and was the sixth straight victory at home, including two this season. Bryan is 1-3.
Thanks to turnovers - each team had three - neither the Lobos nor the Vikes were able to get much going offensively, and Longview finally managed a 14-6 lead when linebacker Wardell Glaspie picked off a Dallas Little pass and returned it 56 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown with 9:34 left in the game. Danielson tacked on the second of two point-afters.
Bryan countered with a 5-play, 55-yard scoring drive capped by a T.J. Grays 37 yard scamper in which he broke out of three tackles to score with just 2:32 remaining in the game. Grays, who had 127 yards on 22 carries and became the first carries and became the first back to rush for over 100 this year against the Lobo defense, also caught a two-point conversion pass from Little to knot the game.
Behind quarterback Cory Hutchings, however, Longview drove right back down the field and put itself in position for the triumph. In the march from his own 20-yard line, Hutchings had runs of 15, 13, 8 and 8, plus a 9-yard pass to split end Adrian Davis which was enhanced by a 15-yard Bryan personal-foul penalty which placed the ball at the Vikes' 20-yard line with 1:12 left.
Bryan's defense held, but Danielson came on and proved his worth. It was his first field goal after five unsuccessful tries in 1993, one of which was a 20-yard attempt that sailed wide left with eight seconds left in the first half.
"I was hoping I would get a chance (to kick). I wanted to show everybody I could do it. I've been in a slump, but it's all been in my head. I just needed to concentrate," said Danielson, a 180-pound senior who kicks left-footed.
Bero had complete confidence in his kicker.
"We were going for a touchdown, but I knew if we got inside the 30, we had a chance to win. Darren is one of the best kickers in the state and it was just a matter of confidence. Good things happen to good people, and he is a great kid. I knew he could win it for us."
Bryan, whose only win came over then top-ranked A&M Consolidated two weeks ago, was stubborn much of the day. Ryan Pillans sandwiched first quarter first goals of 31 and 40 yards around a 57-yard drive and subsequent 26-yard touchdown run by Longview's L.V. Fite and survived a 13-play, 83-yard drive that ended with Danielson's first-half miscue after the Lobos reached the five-yard line and had first-and-goal.
In the second half, the Vikings seemed to have the Lobos on the ropes but fell behind when Glaspie turned in his big play. Daydrion Taylor had two interceptions for Longview, while linebackers Kendrie Nichols and Victor Anthony, along with safety Chris Cox were defensive stalwarts.
Fite had 84 yards rushing in the first half and ended the game with 92, although he was credited with an 18yard loss on a fumble play later in the game. He carried 29 times on a day in which the temperature hovered in the mid-90s.
Longview will play host to Ruston, La. in the non-district finale Friday night, and Bryan returns home to entertain the Bay City Black Cats. Three of the Lobos' wins have come at the expense of teams from District 13-5A - Waco, Killeen and Bryan.