LONGVIEW - Pat Collins will gladly tip his cap to his players and coaching staff as the Longview Lobos rallied from an early 14-0 deficit to defeat John Tyler 24-14 Friday night at Lobo Stadium.
The win ended a three-game losing streak against John Tyler and marked the Lobos' first win over the Lions at home since 1992. More importantly it gave Longview a 1-0 record as both schools opened District 12-5A play.
Willie Andrews scored twice, Joel Armstrong connected with La'Bryan Williams for a touchdown strike, then scored on a two-point conversion and Alex Cammack converted a field goal as the Lobos improved to 4-2 on the season.
"I can't think of a better way to start this district race than with a win," said a jubilant Collins. "They (John Tyler) are a good football team, they're going to bruise some folks up. But I can't thank our players and coaches enough for the great job they did tonight.
"It takes all of us to win and that's what they did. I couldn't be prouder of this football team
No. 8 John Tyler, which had two weeks to prepare after an open date last week, had things in hand in the early going. They marched 75 and 77 yards on consecutive drives, scoring on a pair of 1-yard runs by Tommy Griffin.
But the ballgame just as quickly turned after John Tyler (4-2, 0-1) had built a 14-0 lead with 6:49 left in the second quarter. Behind the bull running of fullback Fred Hawkins and a 32-yard keeper by Armstrong, Longview answered with a 6-play, 54-yard drive with Cammack converting a 36-yard field goal at the 4:09 mark.
The Lobos then got their second defensive stop of the half, and after forcing a punt, put it in the end zone on a 74-yard, 6-play drive with Williams beating John Tyler's man coverage for a 37-yard touchdown pass from Armstrong on fourth down with 6 tickets left before halftime. Hawkins picked up a 25-yard burst up the middle to move Longview into Lion territory.
Armstrong then tacked on a two-point quarterback sneak for a 14-11 deficit. Longview got a second opportunity after failing on the firs try when John Tyler was flagged for being offsides.
Hawkins had a career performance with 99 yard son 18 carries. Andrews added 74 yards on 11 carries, and Armstrong totaled 67 on 11.
The second half belonged to the Lobos.
Longview took its first possession of the second half and marched 67 yards in four plus with Andrews getting his first touchdown as he ran through the John Tyler defense for a 57-yard touchdown romp. With Cammack's point-after the Lobos took the lead at 18-14.
LaMario Hollis' second interception of the season gave the ball back to Longview's offense one series later, but the Lobos couldn't move the ball from near midfield. A bad snap and a 9-yard punt by LaRandall McKind gave John Tyler a first down at their own 38.
But after picking up a first down and facing second-and-nine from the 50, the Lions coughed up the ball as Marvin Byrdsong recovered a Leroy Thomas fumble. Longview was nearly stymied again at midfield, but on third-and-eight, McKind leaped between two defenders to make a 43-yard reception from Armstrong.
The Lobos had first-and-goal from the Lion 8. A costly personal foul penalty against John Tyler on what would have been fourth-and-goal from the two, resulted in a first down at the 1. Andrews then leaped over the pile into the end zone to put his team up 24-14 with 11:33 left to play.
John Tyler put together one more drive, and appeared to cut the deficit to a touchdown and extra point as Cedric Mauldin split the uprights from 35 yards. However, the Lions were flagged for illegal procedure which whipped out the fired goal. His attempt from 39 yards was short and wide right.
Longview then ran off all but the final 10 seconds off the clock to claim victory. Hollis sealed it with his second interception of the game.
The Lobos allowed John Tyler just 123 total yards in the second half. The Lions used nine different running backs in the game. Longview, meanwhile, ground out 240 yards on the ground - all behind Hawkins, Andrews and Armstrong behind a hard-working offensive line.