LONGVIEW - Longview secured its first winning season in three years and completed a perfect run at home as the Lobos overcame some sloppy play on offense to win 40-9 Friday night at Lobo Stadium.
With the win, Longview improves to 6-3 overall and 3-1 in 12-5A, setting ups shot at a district crown next Friday in Lufkin. The victory also continued the turnaround from last year's 3-7 mark.
Lufkin moved into sole possession of first place with a 21-0 victory over Tyler Lee, while John Tyler knocked off Marshall, 34-10. Longview, Lee and John Tyler are all tied for second place at 3-1.
Prior to kickoff, Lobo coach Pat Collins acknowledged each of the 31 seniors, hugging both them and their parents as each of the players was introduced on the field during "Senior Night."
The Lobos scored the first time they had the ball and then survived an error-prone contest as both teams combined to put the ball on the ground 16 times. Each team also tossed an interception. However, Longview capitalized on both an interception and a fumble committed by the Dragons.
Willie Andrews moved closer to the 1,000-yard plateau with 105 yards on 15 carries and a pair of touchdowns - his 12th and 13th of the season. He unofficially has 940 yards.
Joel Armstrong also scored once, as did Fred Hawkins and Artillious Allison. Alex Cammack added a 24-yard field goal, his sixth of the season, and he converted five extra points.
Defensively, Longview did hold Nacogdoches (1-8, 0-4) to just 98 total yards. They recovered three fumbles and intercepted one pass.
"They've got some good looking athletes," Collins said of Nacogdoches. "It still wasn't' like you go out there and play 'The Sisters of the Poor'. You still have to win the ballgame.
"People can say what they want, that this was an 'ugly' win, but I have never seen an 'ugly' win. I have seen some 'ugly' losses. A 'W' looks good up there (on the scoreboard), no matter how it got there."
The Lobos took the opening kickoff and marched 61 yards in just three plays, Armstrong scampering the final 13 yards on a quarterback keeper. Longview's drive also included a 17-yard Armstrong-to-Demanuel Fletcher pass and 31-yard carry off a reverse by LaRandall McKind.
But the remained of the half, the play bogged down.
However, with 5:14 left before halftime, after Nacogdoches had pinned Longview deep in its own territory, it got on the scoreboard with a 42-yard field goal by Andrew Haile. The Lobos needed a couple of good defensive plays to stall the drive after the Dragons had reached the Longview 18.
Longview returned the favor right before the half with a solid defensive effort of its own. Taking over at their own 41, the Lobos marched 59 yards in eight plays as Andrews scored on a sweep toss to the left with 37 seconds remaining.
The Lobos put up 17 points in the third quarter, getting the field goal from Cammack after LeMario Hollis recorded a fumbled punt at the Nacogdoches 7. One series earlier, Hollis recorded his fifth interception of the season. However, in the two subsequent drives, Longview managed just the three points.
But the Dragons turned the ball right back over as Marvin Byrdsong forced a fumble, which Marlon Perry recorded as the Nacogdoches 44. Three plays later, Andrews reached the end zone for the second time time on a 32-yard run.
Longview put the game away in its next possession after the ball got away from Dragon quarterback Noel Hood, forcing a punt from his own end zone. Hawkins finished off the 32-yard, 6-play drive from two yards out with 1:19 left in the third quarter.
Nacogdoches would put up just its second touchdown in district play with 6:14 remaining as Roderick Cotton - the Dragons' second quarterback - scored on a short 2-yard run.
After a safety, where the ball sailed out of the back of the end zone on a Nacogdoches punt attempt, Allison finished off the scoring as he rumbled 34 yards for a touchdown at the 2:59 mark. The Two-play drive was set up by a 20-yard pass completion from backup quarterback Carvell Lucas to Darnell Lucas.