IRVING - Combine the running of Fred Talley with a stout Longview Lobo defense, and for good measure mix in some Dexter Daniels. Stir it all together and you come up with a trip to the state championship.
Behind Talley's 167 yards rushing and two touchdowns plus the performance of Daniels on both side of the football, Longview defeated Duncanville 36-21 in a Class 5A Division I semifinal Saturday at Texas Stadium before a crowd of 15,000.
Te win was the Lobos' 14th of the season and equaled a school record set by the 1937 state championship team. It was 60 years ago that Longview won its only football title defeating Wichita Falls 19-12 Christmas Day in the Cotton Bowl.
"I think overall our defense played well," said Lobo head coach Robert Bero, whose team now faces Katy, a 35-16 winner over San Antonio Taft, next Saturday (noon) at the Houston Astrodome. "That was a very productive offensive football team coming in. I thought we did a good job of taking them on."
The Lobos contained Duncanville's high-powered offense to 319 total yards, while also intercepting four passes and recovering two fumbles. They gave up a mere 170 yards on the ground, whole holding twin 1,000 yard tailbacks Frank Montgomery and Terrance Dean to a combined 187. The Panthers lost 71 yards off a pair of bad snaps, on a punt and a field goal attempt.
"(Offensively) our plan early was we felt like that we could go over the top of them on the corners, even though we didn't connect," Bero said. "That started to put some indecision on those cornerbacks a little bit. So we started throwing up underneath a little bit, and those are some talented players that are catching the football, and they started making some plays."
A healthy Talley also helped as well as the versatility of Daniels, who caught three passes for 87 yards, including one for a touchdown, and rushed for 41 on four carries. That was in addition to his three interceptions on defense. Linebacker Jacob Pierce picked off the fourth, which set up the Lobos' final score on a 1-yard Talley carry late in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
After spotting Duncanville (12-2) a 7-0 lead on the Panthers' first possession of the game, the Lobos scored 22 unanswered points. Talley led the way with a pair of touchdowns, while running for 115 first half yards on just nine carries. The junior tailback's performance was his second 100-yard effort of the playoffs - he had been hampered by a sore left ankle.
"It was about as close to 100 percent as it was going to be," said Talley. "I can run on it full speed, but it was aching a little bit. It's the best it's been in the playoffs.
"We know what kind of offensive team we can be when everything's healthy," Talley added, noting the team's 348 yard s total offense (211 rushing, 137 passing). Quarterback Jay Hurst threw 137 on 5 of 10 completions.
Daniel's touchdown reception came on a swing pass that went down the left sideline for 45 yards with 6:34 left in the third quarter. It answered a Duncanville drive that closed a 15-point halftime advantage to nine, 22-13.
The four-play, 61-yard scoring drive was setup by a fumbled punt that bounced off the shoulder of Panther return O.J. Mathis. Jesse James recovered for the Lobos at their own 39-yard line. Duncanville's defense head pinned Longview at its own 15, forcing a Hurst punt from the back of the end zone.
A Talley fumble after he returned the opening kickoff of the second half 46 yards to the Lobo 49-yard line appeared to breathe new life into Duncanville, which had been taken completely out of its run-oriented offense since the first scoring drive.
A 26-yard pass from backup quarterback Lance Simpson to John Evans moved the ball to the Lobo 30. Two plays later, fullback Brandon Kajihrio scooted 21 yards up the middle of the Panthers' first touchdown since the opening quarter.
Jeremy Hurd started at quarterback for the Panthers and capped off the game's opening possession with a one-yard quarterback keeper. John Perkin's extra point put Duncanville up 7-0 with 8:53 showing on the clock to complete a six-play, 73-yard drive.
However, the Lobos responded with their initial drive, going 62 yards in eight plays as Talley scored from a yard out at the 6:04 mark. Erin Roerecke converted the point-after to ten the contest.
Longview got the ball back on Duncanville's next series as Daniels intercepted Hurd's pas on a double pass at its own 35. The Lobos then marched 65 yards in seven plays as Talley rambled the final 46 yards. However, the extra point try was wide to the left.
Going with Simpson at quarterback, who replaced Hurd, the Panthers went to their little used passing game and marched to near midfield on their ensuing drive.
However after a Leon Bell sack of Hurd, who briefly came back into the game, the snap on the fourth down punt sailed over the head of punter Travis Hale, who fumbled the ball attempting to recover it. Dominic Jackson fell on it for the Lobos at the Duncanville six-yard line. It took use one play for Bell to score on offense.
Longview later added a 33-yard field goal from David Monsivais. The drive followed a failed fourth down by Duncanville at the Lobo 25.