SHREVEPORT - Coach John King has called Willie Cloyd one of the Lobos biggest surprises this season. Saturday night, the senior kicker booted a 43-yard field goal in overtime to beat Evangel Christian Academy 24-21 at Independence Stadium.
The Lobos got the opportunity after Keith Johnson recovered an Eagle fumble on their first possession in overtime. Longview started its first series at the 25, but lost a yard on the initial play, and the drive subsequently stalled. In came Cloyd, who was 2-for-2 on the season, and the ball easily had the distance and height.
Cloyd was mobbed on the field by his teammates as Longview picked up its third straight win over Evangel and improved to 4-0 on the year. The Lobos open District 12-5A play this week at home against Mesquite.
Evangel fell to 1-2 on the year. A crowd of about 9,000 witnessed the exciting conclusion between the two interstate powerhouses. The Lobos came into the game ranked No. 5 in the state by The Associated Press.
Longview had taken a 21-14 lead following an interception by DeKendrick Campbell, who returned it 25 yards to the Eagle 24. Three plays later on third-and-three, Carlin Freeman connected with Malcolm Kelly on a slant route for a 17-yard touchdown with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter.
The Eagles, who picked up 159 yards through the air and 232 rushing the football, tied the game with 3:10 to play in the fourth quarter. Billy Barefield, who rushed for 121 yards on 20 carries, scored from 5 yards out.
Evangel dominated the statistics, corralling 27 first downs, with Denny Duron completing 14 of 36 passes. He connected with Renaldo Graves five times for 92 yards. However, Duron was intercepted three times - once each by Corderra Hunter, Campbell and Roderick Allen.
The Eagles were also hurt by 137 yards in penalties as they were flagged 13 times.
The Lobos managed just 10 first downs, while mustering 229 yards total offense. Chris Ivory finished with a team-high 92 yards on 11 carries, and Carlin Freeman completing 4 of 13 passes for 78 yards.
Longview had to play catch up in the first half, getting touchdowns from Adrian Reese and McGee which resulted in a 14-all tie at halftime.
A Lobo fumble on the opening kickoff resulted in the Eagles taking possession at the Lobo 25. It took Duron just one play as he called his own number and sprinted into the front left corner of the end zone. However, the point-after try was wide to the left.
A 27-yard return by McGee on the ensuing kickoff gave Longview good field position at its 38. The Lobos picked up a quick first down on a 16-yard toss from Carlin Freeman to Kelly.
A pass interference call against the Eagles moved the ball into Evangel territory as Carlin Freeman again attempted to go to Kelly. However, the drive bogged down as the Lobos faced fourth-and-three from the 34.
With Evangel stacking the line on defense, Freeman found Adrian Reese all alone over the middle and connected for the tying touchdown with 7:40 to play in the quarter. Cloyd, who had been perfect on 13 previous extra tries, was wide to the right, leaving the game tied at 6-6.
The Eagles then responded with a 12-play, 75-yard drive, mostly through the air as Duron completed 4 of 7 for 43 yards. A 5-yard toss to Barefield set up a first down at the Lobo 11, where Derrick Williams finished off the series with a burst up the middle. Barefield then added the two-point conversion for a 14-6 lead at the 3:15 mark.
Longview quickly responded in three plays as Ivory ripped off a 48-yard run that also saw the Eagles flagged twice for a personal foul and a facemask call that gave the Lobos a first-and-goal from the seven-yard line. McGee tallied his eighth TD of the season and Carlin Freeman converted the two-pointer for a 14-14 tie with 2:51 showing on the clock.
The Lobos had a golden opportunity to take the lead early in the second quarter after the ball was snapped over the head of Graves, which he recovered at his own 7. But, a Longview fumble turned the ball right back over to Evangel.