LONGVIEW - Vondrell McGee dazzled the crowd with a 90-yard scoring romp earlier, but his 25-yard touchdown run in overtime sent most of the Longview fans rushing onto the field as the Lobos captured a thrilling 34-31 victory over Tyler Lee Friday night at Lobo Stadium.
Call it a successful conclusion to “Homecoming 2004.”
McGee, who pushed his season rushing totals over 1,000 yards, scored on the Lobos’ first possession of overtime, following the blocks of fullback Chris Ivory and guard Petey Surber on a power sweep into the end zone. What followed was a massive celebration as McGee was buried under a sea of Green clad teammates, while the stands emptied with jubilant fans.
“I had a feeling we’d find a way to pull it out,” said Longview head football coach John King. “I had it at halftime, in the fourth quarter and overtime. There’s a special feeling about this team.”
The Lobos are now in the driver’s seat in the district race at 3-0. Overall, they improve to 7-0 for the first time since the 1997 state finalist year. Lee falls to 1-1 and 3-3.
Longview had won the coin toss to start overtime, but elected to start on defense. The Lobo defense gave up a first down to the 11, but then held the Red Raiders on three successive plays to the 10. Cole Scates came on to kick a 27-yard field goal for a 31-28 Lee advantage.
The defensive series was just what Longview needed as McGee finished off his 173-yard effort on 11 carries in a single play.
After 49 points were put up in the first half, the second turned to defense, penalties and a couple of turnovers. One turnover saw Longview force a Lee fumble only to have the Red Raiders regain possession after the Lobos fumbled on the same play.
It took a second Lee fumble, recovered by Adrian Brooks at the Longview 30 and a fourth-down scramble by punter Willie Cloyd on a fake punt to rally the Lobos as they drove for the game-tying touchdown.
Longview took possession with 9:33 left in the game. On fourth-and-five at the 35, Cloyd went back to punt. The play was to be a pass to DeKendrick Campbell, but when Cloyd saw the receiver covered, he tucked the ball in and headed for the yard marker, picking up the first down on an 8-yard carry.
The Lobos also got another break with a pass interference call against Lee inside the 5-yard line on third-and-goal for an automatic first down. Carlin Freeman scored two plays later from the 2 for his first rushing touchdown of the season.
Cloyd converted the extra point for a 28-28 tie with 2:28 to play.
Lee got the ball back, but Josh Hill was intercepted for the second time in the game. A penalty on Longview during the runback, gave the Lobos possession at the 37. They then ran the clock out, forcing overtime.
Friday’s District 12-5A showdown was an offensive shootout for the first quarter and a half.
The Lobos took the opening kickoff and quickly marched 73 yards in five plays with Ivory scoring on a 37-yard run through the middle of Lee’s defense. However, the Red Raiders responded with a 51-yard, five-play drive with Tyrone Ross doing the honors on a 27-yard scamper.
Longview again answered on a three-play drive, the touchdown coming on a 70-yard passing completion from Carlin Freeman to Malcolm Kelly. But, here came Lee again with a 62-yard, eight-play drive, culminating in a diving catch by Walter Simpson in the back on the end zone on an 8-yard TD pass from Hill.
Then came a costly Longview mistake on a lateral that Jason Striping picked up at the Lobo 25, returning the fumble for a touchdown as Lee went ahead 21-14 with 2:02 to play in the first quarter.
After turning the ball over on downs after reaching the Red Raider 41, Lee scored on its third straight offensive series as Ross went over from 4 yards out.
Ross finished the game with 142 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns. Hill was 11 of 20 passing for 108 yards, with one touchdown and an interception.
Trailing 28-14 and at their own 10-yard line with 5:30 left in the half, McGee took the handoff from Freeman, broke four tackles at the line of scrimmage and then outran everyone to the end zone for a 90-yard scoring jaunt - the longest of his career.
Ivory finished with a hard-earned 87 yards on 17 carries, while Freeman picked up 70 on 14 totes of the ball. He was 4 of 13 for 93 yards through the air. Kelly caught just the one pass, but it covered 70 yards as he scored his fifth touchdown of the season.