HOUSTON - Longview has outmuscled teams all season long, but Saturday it was the Lobos who were physical dominated by Katy in the Class 5A Division I Texas Bowl Championship.
Katy used a relentless ball-control offense to set the Lobos back on their heels en route to a 24-3 win before a crowd of 25,000 at the Astrodome. The loss ended Longview's string of 14 consecutive victories and denied the school its first football state championship in 60 years.
"We're disappointed, we came into this (championship) and thought we could win the football game," said Lobo head coach Robert Bero. "Katy was able to do what they had game planned, and that was maintain ball control. They did a great job on the offensive side of the football.
"I don't know if it was the biggest line, but it may have been one of the best. They played extremely well."
Longview had battle through offensive lines all season, relying on its defense to neutralize them with their quickness and finesse. However the tigers, who averaged 260 pounds per player across the line, controlled the game and the clock.
While the Tigers prefer to stick with their ground attack, it was one pass play that may have been the backbreaker for the Lobos. With 11 seconds remaining in the first half and Katy leading 7-3, quarterback Matt Gore connected with wide receiver Mason White for a 38-yard touchdown toss.
White was two steps behind the Longview secondary and made a leaping catch at the goal line before falling into the end zone with five seconds showing. Ryan Nugent tacked on the extra point for a 14-3 lead.
Longview did move the ball to the Katy 19-yard line in the remaining seconds, but time simply ran out. Time was something that the Lobos found in short commodity throughout the entire game.
"If we could take one play back, it was that touchdown pass (by Katy) right before the half," said Bero. "That was big. That put them up by 11 points right there going into the half. That was a little momentum gainer for them."
The Tigers simply dominated the third quarter as Katy ran 18 offensive plays to Longview's six. The Lobos received the opening kickoff of the second half, but went three-and-out.
The Tigers then marched 58 yards in 10 plays, consuming 5:15 off the clock. A 33-yard run by Bronston Carroll, who rushed for a game-high 121 on 26 carries, carried the ball into Lobo territory. The drive did stall at the 17-yard line as Longview defensive end Adrian Lee sacked Gore for a 7-yard loss. However, Ryan Nugent came in to kick a 34-yard field with 4:38 left in the quarter, increasing to 14 points.
The Lobos again went three-and-out on the next series But after holding Katy at the Longview 45-yard line, the Lobo offense had its best possession of the half. It looked like Longview might mount a scoring drive as it reached the Katy 39, but then quarterback Jay Hurst was thrown for a 12-yard loss by Tiger offensive lineman Lance Redmon. Again, the Lobos were forced to punt.
The Tigers then put the game away with a 38-yard, seven-play drive as Carroll ran in the final nine yards with 3:41 to play in the game. It was set up by Robby McDaniel's 29-yard punt return.
"They were tough (offensively)," said Lobo tailback Fred Talley, who gained 91 yards on 16 carries which put him over 2,000 yards in his junior season. "They just confused our linemen a little bit with the different schemes they were doing as a front. We weren't able to execute."
Talley had nine carries for 71 yards in the opening two quarters, but he touched the ball only seven times in the second half. The Lobos managed just 43 yards on the ground for the game, which included a minus-22 yards on sacks and tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Longview did throw of 150 yards - the biggest gainer being Nix's toss to Talley right before halftime.
Katy piled 22 yards on the ground and 57 through the air.
The Lobos scored the game's first points on their second possession as Eric Roerecke connected with a 27-yard field goal. A lateral pass from Hurst to Talley for 27 yards keyed the 60-yard, seven-play drive. Longview had a first-and-10 from the Tigers' 16-yard line, but stalled out at the nine.
Katy answered with a time-eating drive, taking 6:37 off the clock, before Gore broke the plane of the goal line from a yard out. The drive traveled 77 yards in 15 plays. Rian Green, who finished with 63 yards on 16 carries, did the bulk of the works with 10 carries for 51 yards.
Two plays highlighted the all-consuming drive. An 11-yard pas from Gore to Michael de la Torre on third down from the Tigers' own-26yard line gave them a first down. Gore then scrambled for 12 yards and another first down on second-and-13 for Longview's 16 after Green was tackled for a 3-yard loss by Lobo linebacker Leon Bell.
The Lobos, who finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Class 5A poll, had not been to the final since 1937 when they beat Wichita Falls, 19-12. The 14 victories this year matched that team's school record for wins in a season.
Katy recorded its 14th win of the season against just one loss, a 20-9 defeat to Langham Creek in the second week. Saturday's victory was the Tigers' 12th in a row.
It was Katy's second state championship in football, having won the Class A title in 1959. The Tigers also reached the 5A Division I State Championship game in 1994, but lost to Plano 26-7.