LONGVIEW - Homecoming 2005 nearly turned into the upset of the season as Rockwall came into Lobo Stadium and battled toe-to-toe with No. 2 ranked Longview.
However, it was the toe of sophomore kicker Zach Decker which enabled Longview to save its undefeated season as he split the uprights with a field goal from 22 yards out for a 37-35 victory. The Lobos now enter their bye week and will have plenty to reflect on before resuming play at North Mesquite on Oct. 28.
Decker's game-winner came with six seconds remaining as Longview drove 66 yards in nine plays. The win kept the Lobos perfect at 8-0 and moved them to 4-0 in District 12-5A.
The drive followed a 67-yard, seven-play scoring march by Rockwall, with Michael Daniels getting behind the Lobo secondary for a 37-yard scoring strike from quarterback Zack Eskridge. The visiting YellowJackets went for two, with Eskridge finding Cole Wardell in the back of the end zone for a 35-34 lead with 1:16 remaining on the clock.
A stunned Lobo crowd watched as the Lobos started their final possession following the ensuing kickoff.
The first two plays were incomplete passes, before David Robinson pulled in an 18-yard reception from Carlin Freeman to keep the drive alive. After being flagged for illegal motion and a 10-yard Freeman rush back near the original line of scrimmage, Chris Ivory rambled for 10 yards into Rockwall territory. Longview also picked up an additional 15 yards for a personal foul against the Yellow Jackets.
Freeman, who finished with 100 yards on nine carries, moved the ball to the 29 as ran for another 14. His 9-yard carry set up Decker's field goal.
Longview held a 27-13 lead with 1:57 remaining in the third quarter following a 56-yard touchdown pass from Freeman to Adrian Reese. In the fourth stanza, both teams combined for 32 points, although 22 belonged to the Jackets.
Rockwall posted consecutive touchdowns in a span of 56 seconds as Eskridge connected with Wardell for 5-yard scoring pass on fourth-and-four, and then after the Jackets recovered the onside kick, Tony Dadney bounced off a couple of Longview defenders and rambled 39 yards to forge a 27-all tie.
The Lobos quickly regained the lead again with an 81-yard, seven-play drive as McGee ran it in from 18 yards out at the 4:39 mark. McGee went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season with 130 yards on 16 carries.
Eskridge, who came in as the district's leading passer, threw for 242 yards on 20 of 29 completions and three touchdowns in the game. Freeman was 4-for-13 for 128 yards and a touchdown.
Longview looked nothing like the team that had rolled through the first three games in district play in the opening half. Twice, it failed to convert on fourth down while Rockwall moved the ball at will.
Yet at halftime, Longview had held the Yellow Jackets to just a pair of field goals.
It took an interception by the defense to set up the Lobos' first touchdown of the game, and then Longview mounted a successful drive right before the half ended to take a 14-6 lead into the dressing room.
Longview has only failed twice this season to score on its opening possession. Taking the opening kickoff, the Lobos reached the Rockwall 31. But on fourth-and-nine, Freeman was sacked for a loss and ball went over the Jackets on downs.
Rockwall marched all the way to the Longview two-yard line before Cody Williams sacked Eskridge for a 13-yard loss back to the 15. Andy Tanner converted a 32-yard field goal and the Jackets led 3-0 after draining nearly five minutes off the clock.
The Lobos again marched deep into Rockwall territory, this time reaching the 16. However, Longview failed to convert on fourth down as McGee was stopped short on fourth-and-one, turning the ball over on downs yet again.
Longview's defense then came up with a big play as Calvin Jackson picked off Eskridge and returned it 16 yards to the 21. It took three plays before Ivory powered his way into the end zone.
The Jackets would again mount a lengthy drive, moving from their own 15 to the Longview one-yard line. Rockwall had first-and-goal from the 9, but was kept out of the end zone as Cartez Beall pulled down Wardell between the hash marks just outside the 1 on third down. Tanner followed with his second field goal of the game – a 19-yarder with 2:06 left in the opening half.
The Lobos then drove 73 yards in seven plays, with McGee turning a short reception into a 40-yard gain. McGee added a 17-yard carry down to the 3, where Ivory scored with 13 seconds showing on the clock.