LONGVIEW - Jon Writt missed his first two chances for glory on Friday. Fortunately for Longview's football team, he didn't miss his last two, especially his last.
The last chance was the play that preserved Longview's 28-21 win over John Tyler before more than 9,000 spectators at Lobo Stadium. With five seconds left, John Tyler quarterback Derrell Allen threw a desperation pass from his own 49-yard line. In Longview's end zone, Writt tipped the ball, which then deflected off the helmet of John Tyler receiver Marteon Brown, but fell incomplete.
"On the last play, I froze for a moment when their quarterback ran out, but then I ran as hard as I could to make the play," Writt said. "I had a moment of panic when I tipped the ball and it went off his helmet, but I was relieved when I saw it rolling around on the ground."
The win gives Longview (6-2, 3-0) sole possession of first place in District 12-5A and clinches a berth in the playoffs, while John Tyler drops to 3-5, 2-1. The Lobos have won eight straight games over the Lions, tying the series record previously set from 1982 -89. They also denied John Tyler its 600th victory in the program's history as Longview improved its "Green Out Night" record to 5-0.
Longview took its first lead with 2:08 left on a 2-yard touchdown run by Jazmon Moon. The score was set up by an 18-yard punt return by Chris Lacy to the John Tyler 48-yard line and a personal foul call against the Lions during the drive. John Tyler was called for 113 yards in penalties to 15 for Longview.
The Lobos also got a key fumble recovery by Ricardo Buchanan with 1:47 left, after DaCorris Ford stripped the ball from Allen. Moon ran 23 yards for a touchdown on the next play.
Writt followed with an interception with 1:09 remaining. But on the next play, Jonathan Blackshire recovered a Moon fumble, setting up a 27-yard touchdown run by Kendall Hunter with 54 seconds remaining. Hunter was held to 35 yards rushing.
On the ensuing onside kick, William Brooks recovered for John Tyler, but two illegal procedure penalties stunted the rally. Longview held John Tyler to 97 total yards in the second half. Allen, who had 103 passing yards in the first half, finished with 145.
"We had better pressure on their quarterback in the second half," Writt said. "We made sure we had someone on the quarterback all the time."
After just 88 total yard in the first half, Longview marched 67 yards on its first drive in the second half. The drive included a fourth-down conversion, capped by a 9-yard touchdown run by quarterback D'Marcus Miles with 5:06 left in the third quarter.
A 29-yard punt return by Lacy set up a 44-yard double-reverse run for a touchdown by Travrus Brown with 10:29 remaining to tie the game at 14-14. Longview was in position to go ahead after Sherman Rosborough made an interception; his ninth of this season; and lateraled to Lacy, who returned the ball to the John Tyler 20-yard line.
Two plays later, Miles found Mark Johnson for a screen pass. But at the one-yard line, Johnson was stripped and Blackshire recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback, preserving the tie for the moment. Longview did have 184 yards in the second half.
"We told each other at halftime that the game wasn't over," said Miles, who had 104 total yards of offense. "The o-line played a whole lot better in the second half. I thanked every one of them afterwards."
John Tyler controlled the first half. On Longview's first drive, John Tyler's Corey Lewis intercepted a tipped pass by Miles and returned it 25 yards to the Longview 19-yard line. This set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Allen with 7:37 left in the first quarter.
Hunter's first big play was on defense. Longview drove to the John Tyler 35-yard line on its second drive, but on a fourth-and-five play, Hunter tackled Brown after he caught a pass from Miles, holding Brown to three yards.
John Tyler took advantage and drove 68 yards in 6:38, capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Hunter with 7:20 left in the first half. All coming about despite Allen running out of a shoe on the play that helped give the Lions a 14-0 halftime lead. John Tyler converted a third-and-16 on its own 49-yard line on the drive, with Allen finding Brown for a 20-yard gain.
Allen completed his first 13 pass attempts. Longview was held scoreless in a half for the first time this season in the first half.