LONGVIEW - When in doubt, put the ball into the hands of your playmakers.
Longview did exactly that Friday night, getting a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns as quarterback Joel Armstrong threw for one and ran of the other to rally the Lobos to a 21-20 Homecoming victory over Waco at Lobo Stadium.
Armstrong and the Lobos, who had been stymied since scoring the game's first touchdown in the opening minutes, found new life in the final seven minutes. A quick-strike 64-yard drive in three plays, culminating in a 42-yard pass play from Armstrong to La'Bryan Williams to narrow the deficit to 20-14.
Longview's defense then stepped up to give the ball right back - holding the Lions to a three-and-out. The Lobos also benefited from a shanked punt off the foot of Waco's Drew Gresham. The ball traveled just 14 yards before rolling out of bounds at the Lion 36.
Armstrong then engineered a seven-play drive, calling his own number four times. The last time, taking the ball the final 10 yards to tie the ball game with 56 seconds remaining. Alex Cammack then booted a line drive over the crossbar for the game-winning point.
"I think it's pretty obvious to see why they had successive wins over Tyler Lee and John Tyler," said Longview coach pat Collins, whose team improved to 3-2. "I felt like our defense played well all game. We had some trouble offensively, but when you have a triggerman like Joel at the control we just had to be patient.
"I told our kids at half-time that the thing that was going to win for us was discipline and believing in ourselves. I thought it would be a good test of our character."
Longview opens District 12-5A play next Friday when it plays host to John Tyler. Waco also begins district as it entertains Killeen in a 13-5A contest.
Waco, which trailed in both gams against Lee and JT before rallying for wins the last two weeks, had taken a 20-7 lead on Mark Gaines second touchdown of the night with 7:14 to play. however, the Lions botched the snap on the extra point attempt which proved crucial at the end.
Gaines' touchdown concluded a two-play, 16-yard drive after the Lobos were forced to punt from near their own end zone after they were flagged unsportsmanlike conduct. A 29-yard return by the Lions' Josh Williams set up the short series.
The Lions took the lead with an 80-yard, 13-yard drive the took 7 minutes and 56 seconds off the clock to start the second half. Gaines scored on a 16-yard carry down the left sideline and with Carter McBurnett's extra point, Waco led 14-7.
Waco had tied the game with 47 seconds remaining in the first half as Richard White broke a tackle at the line of scrimmage and sprinted 43 yards for the touchdown. The drive followed an interception of Armstrong by Marcus Walker.
The Lions had picked up just three first downs, two coming on Longview penalties, and just 29 yards total offense before taking the goose egg off the scoreboard with a 62-yard, 6-play drive.
Longview had taken the opening kickoff and driven 66 yards in seven plays, with Willie Andrews bursting up the middle for a 7-yard touchdown at the 9:35 mark of the contest.
The Lobos controlled much of the first half as they reached the Lion 21- and 17-yard lines on successive drives, but Cammack missed on field goal attempts of 38 and 35 yards.