LONGVIEW - One goal-line stand saved Longview the first half, and one by Ruston saved it the second half.
The Lobos' failure to get in proved more costly as the Bearcats from Louisiana won the border battle of state-ranked teams at Lobo Stadium Friday night, 14-9.
The loss was the No. 5 Lobos' first in five games and gives the No. 10 'Cats an identical 4-1 record. Both will begin district next week.
Although Longview controlled the ball for 18 minutes in the second half, it was able to dent the Ruston goal only once, that with 3:16 left in the game to cap a nine-play, 52-yard drive when quarterback Cory Hutchings sneaked in from a yard out. A pass play for two points failed.
It was a mere yard that the Lobos couldn't get earlier, however, that made the difference.
Following a Thomas Norris fumble recovery, his second of the game, at the Ruston 28, the Lobos moved inside the five-yard line with a first-and-goal after L.V. Fite scampered 24 yards with a pitch around the left side and down the sidelines.
Two Fite runs netted no yards, Hutchings then advanced it to the one and Fite was stopped short on fourth down on the right side with 8:49 left in the game.
Ruston scored in the third quarter on a six-play, 60-yard march and Roland Mayfield rambled 20 yards for the touchdown. Matt Willis added the point-after with 4:22 left.
The first half was highlighted by a Longview defensive stand at its goal line as time expired, leaving Ruston holding a 7-3 advantage.
Bo Meeks, who completed 10 of 11 passes for 127 yards, hit two straight passes, the last one to Steven Hampton just inside the one-yard line with a half minute remaining, but two straight Woodrow Dean dives were thwarted by the middle of the Lobo defensive line. Dean was mobbed each time and was unable to cross the plain of the goal. Ruston was out of timeouts.
The Bearcats, who held a 188-91 yard advantage at the intermission, scored first after a Victor Robinson fumble recovery set the ball at the 50.
Four plays and 1:14 later, Robison took it over on a seven-yard sweep around the left end with 5:49 left. Two Meeks completions of 22 and 12 yards to tight end David Jones and Hampton were the big gainers. Willis added the PAT.
Robinson's fumble recovery came on the ensuing play after a Ruston fumble was recovered by Longview's Thomas Norris. The Lobos gave it right back, however.
Longview's only score of the half came on the next possession after Ruston's touchdown.
Chris Butcher, subbing for Fite, the game's leading rusher for 117 yards on 22 carries, dashed 43 yards to the Bearcats' 21 before the drive stalled and Darren Danielson came on to boot a 35-yard field goal - the longest of his career - with 3:13 remaining in the opening period.
Longview had the ball the first 7:50 of the third thanks to a Tywayne Molett fumble recovery.