LONGVIEW - Longview returned to the friendly confines of Lobo Stadium and for the second time this season had an opportunity to pull off a come-from-behind. However, this time "Lady Luck" didn't cooperate and the Lobos suffered a 13-7 defeat to the Ruston Bearcats Friday night before a Homecoming crowd.
The game culminated a week that aw four starters and eight varsity players become academically ineligible. Among the starters lost were tailback Broderick allison and fullback Artillious Allison.
"Whenever you don't know until Wednesday or Thursday of the week that you're going to lose four of your starters and eight of your varsity football players because of academic difficulties, it really placed our football team and coaching staff in a bind," said Longview coach Pat Collins. "But the thing I was most proud of, is our players never quit. I told them if 'you can go out there and play as hard as you can' I can live with the results.
"We won a football game in the last few seconds against Lake Highlands, and we lost this one in the last few seconds. I feel our players just gave it everything they had - we made mistakes as players and as coaches. All we can do is go back to work, but one thing I think we have a chance to do is become a pretty good team."
Three times in the second half, Longview (1-3) drove deep inside Ruston (5-0) territory only to come away empty. The Lobos had the ball at the Bearcats' four-yard line, but Joel Armstrong's pass into the end zone was dropped by Marvin Byrdsong on fourth-and-two with under 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Armstrong and a fired up defense were the difference in the second half for Longview. Armstrong picked up 112 yards on the ground, plus threw for 87 yards of 9 of 21 completions. He also had a 22-yard touchdown run called back on a holding penalty that would have put the Lobos in the lead midway through the third quarter.
Longview also had a missed field goal and turned the ball over on downs a second time. The later coming at midfield with 47 seconds to play.
A bad snap that went over the head of Ruston punter Jonathan Lyons gave the Lobos the ball at the Bearcat 25 for their first possession of the second half as Wesley Brown made the tackle. Four plays later, Alex Cammack came up short on a 36-yard field goal attempt.
Reggie Maxwell scored both touchdowns for Ruston and finished with 130 yards on 18 carries. But in the second, the Bearcats managed just 50 yards total offense. They totaled 312 for the game, 243 coming on the ground.
Armstrong got the Lobos on the scoreboard as he connected with Willie Andrews for a 9-yard strike in tot he elect corner of the end zone with 2:38 remaining before halftime. Armstrong's 42-yard scamper set up the touchdown as he ran an option bootleg from the Bearcat 48 down to the six-yard line.
The five-play, 62-yard drive was the second time Longview what been in the red zone. One series earlier it had driven 83 yards in 13 plays only to turn the ball over on downs as LaRandall McKind was stopped short of the goal line attempting to leap over the piles.
The Bearcats, however, turned around and drove 99 yards in 12 plays with Maxwell scoring his second touchdown from seven yards out. Maxwell's touchdown came on fourth-and-two as the Lobo defense tried to return the favor.
Lyons came up short on his bootleg try for two points, being dragged down at the one-yard line, leaving the Bearcats up 13-7.
Ruston scored first as it took its first possession of the game and went 87 yards in eight plays. Maxwell was the workhouse, carrying five times in 54 yards. He found a hole on the right side of the line and drove into the end zone for final two yards and the Bearcats took a 7-0 lead at the 6:40 mark.
Maxwell had 92 yards on 11 carries in the opening half of play.
Armstrong and Andrews directed the Lobos, who reached the Bearcats' end of the field on three of their first four possession. Armstrong was 8 of 17 for 87 yards, while Andrews pulled in five catches for 51 yards. Walter Sharp picked up 34 yards on two receptions. Armstrong also gained 64 yards on the ground on four carries, while McKind added 42 on nine.