IRVING - For the second straight year, continuation of the season came down to a field goal attempt for the Longview football team. The difference this year, and on Saturday, was a block instead of a miss.
Garland's Brian Johnson blocked a 30-yard field-goal attempt by Zach Decker with five seconds left to preserve a 24-21 win over the Lobos in a Class 5A, Division II area playoff before 10,000 spectators at Texas Stadium.
Longview drove from its own 34-yard line to the Garland 13 in the final 2:02 of the game, with quarterback D'Marcus Miles completing five passes for 43 yards, but the ball had barely left Decker's foot when it was blocked by Johnson. Longview lost to South Garland, 14-13, in a bi-district playoff last season, with Decker missing a field goal in the closing seconds.
Longview's season ends at 9-3. Garland (10-2) will play Leander or Klein Forest in a Region II semifinal later later this week at a time, date and place to be determined.
Malcolm Williams, who has orally committed to the University of Texas as an athlete, showed multiple athletic skills to help Garland win, including the key play on defense.
Williams stripped the ball from Jazmon Moon and recovered the fumble at the Longview 44-yard line with 4:50 remaining. Moon otherwise had an strong game, rushing for 126 yards on 16 carries.
Garland quarterback Greg Hunter converted a key third-and-two with a 4-yard run, setting Mladen Bjelica with an eventual game-winning, 42-yard field goal with 2:03 remaining.
Longview tied the game at 21-21 on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Miles to John Preston with 7:36 remaining. Miles had 195 total yards of offense.
To open the scoring in the second half, Longview took a 14-7 lead on a 12-yard touchdown run by Mark Johnson with 5:54 left in the third quarter. Moon ran the ball three times for 61 yards to set up the touchdown.
But Garland struck back quick, with a 29-yard scramble by Greg Gunter and a personal foul on Longview cornerback Chris Lacy setting up a 5-yard touchdown run by Hamilton Brooks to tie the game at 14-14 with 5:25 left in the third.
On Longview's next drive, a end-around option pass was attempted by Lacy, but the senior was hit by a pair of Owls, forcing a fumble that Garland linebacker Michael Uvalde recovered and returned 17 yards. On the next play, Jacques Caldwell ran in from eight yards, helping give Garland a 21-14 lead with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
Longview drew first blood in the game by marching 80 yards, capped by a 30-yard touchdown pass from Miles to Frankey Nelson with 2:40 left in the first quarter. Longview made two third-down conversions on the drive, including an 18-yard pass from Miles to Stevie Johnson.
On the ensuing kickoff however, Williams returned to the ball 96 yards for a touchdown. Williams broke a pair of Longview tackles and used a stiff arm to break free. Williams had 100-yard kickoff return against Plano West last week and was not kicked to again for the rest of the game.
Other than the kickoff, Longview's defense held firm in the first half, holding Garland to 63 total yards and four first downs, including a sack by Markeith Woolridge, who had two tackles for losses.
Longview outgained Garland, 355-147, and had a 19-10 advantage in first downs.