LONGVIEW - Defense, patience, and that Stoker offense pulled the Longview Lobos through another tight spot Friday night.
When they finally cut out the bobbles, the Lobos pulled away from previously unbeaten Bryan and cruised to a 23-6 victory at Lobo Stadium. Longview is 4-0 with room for improvement.
In the first two and a half quarters, the fumbling Lobos failed to recover two Bryan onside kicks and ran only 16 offensive plays. Two of those ended in lost fumbles. Longview was down, 6-0, for the second straight week scrambling in the third quarter.
Longview's solution was simple: Hold on to the ball and drive it down the Vikings' throat.
Starting with 6:28 left in the third quarter, the Lobos put together a 70-yard, 12-play drive, with senior tailback Isiah Stoker carrying the ball on 10 of those plays and picking up 65 of those yards. Stoker ripped off gains of 26 and 15 yards, picked up four first downs, then capped the drive by taking a pitchout right behind a wall of blockers for six yards and the go-ahead touchdown with 1:27 left in the period.
Jeff Works converted to make it 7-6 Longview.
On Bryan's second offensive play after that score, tailback Chris Taplin fumbled, and Longview linebacker Brian Templeton recovered at the Bryan 28. Five plays later, Stoker took a screen pass from quarterback Lee Nix and sprinted 15 yards down the left sideline for his second touchdown.
However, Works doinked his extra point kick off the left upright to leave the score at 13-6. Bryan ripped off gains of 17 and 15 yards to drive to the Lobos' 37.
That's when backup safety Tavarus Glaspie stepped in front of a receiver and intercepted Bryan quarterback Joel Bryan's sideline pass to set up the Lobos at their 47.
Stoker, who led all rushers with 143 yards on 22 carries and caught two passes for 37 yards, picked up 22 yards on a middle screen, and the Lobos drove to the Bryan 24. Works kicked a 41-yard field goal for a 16-6 lead.
The Lobos stopped Bryan on downs at the Viking 27 with 2:37 left in the game, setting up a six-yard touchdown run by Lee Jackson with 43 seconds remaining. The Lobos, who had less than 80 yards and no points in the first 22 minutes, scored 23 points in the final 9:27.
The Lobos forced four turnovers with Juan Ingram intercepting two passes.
Longivew had a woeful start. Bryan opened the game by trying and recovering an onside kick that the Lobos bobbled. The Vikings kicked a 20-yard field goal; then recovered another onside kick before any Lobo could touch it. Longview soon drove to the Bryan 5, but quarterback Jay Hurst fumbled the snap, and Bryan recovered. Longview got the ball back, but Bryan intercepted a Hurst pass. Early in the third quarter, Bryan recovered a Nix fumbled snap and kicked another field goal, a 45-yarder, for a 6-0 lead.
"We took their best shot in the first half, when everything that could go wrong for us went wrong," said Longview head coach Robert Bero.