CORSICANA - Two winds hit Leander's football team on Saturday. One was coming from the east, with gusts up to 25 miles per hour.
The other was the breezes the Lions felt when Longview running back Johnny Garrett ran by them.
Garrett rushed for a career-high 233 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Lobos past Leander — and the wind from the east — 40-21 in a Class 5A Division II semifinal before 7,500 spectators at Tiger Stadium.
Garrett had touchdown runs of 18 and 14 yards in the second half, the latter ending the scoring with 5:36 remaining and ending a drive in which Garrett had four carries for 93 yards, including a 53-yard burst.
The person most amazed with Garrett's performance may have been Garrett himself.
''I had that much? I'm amazed,'' Garrett said. ''I did know that on the first carry we could have a good game, but it wouldn't be easy.''
Longview (12-1) won its 12th straight game and advances to the Region II final against Pflugerville, which defeated Dallas Carter, 20-18, in the other semifinal. Leander defeated Pflugerville, 37-36, on Sept. 27. Leander's season ends at 9-4.
The Region II final between Longview and Pflugerville (10-3) is set for 1 p.m. next Saturday at the Waco ISD Stadium.
Garrett credited his offensive line, which helped the Lobos to 309 rushing yards and reduced the chances they had to take passing in the wind. Linemen such as Chris Knighton and Blake Bledsoe often got out and ran ahead of Garrett and Mark Johnson.
''We did have more movement than what we normally do,'' Longview offensive guard Blake Bledsoe said. ''They had three linemen, and we would take them out and try to get a linebacker, which made a lot of their plays.''
Longview did take three chances with passes on its first drive of the second half. Quarterback Damion Lewis found tight end David Larsen for a 40-yard gain, Cody Taylor for a 10-yard gain on a fourth-and-three play and Travrus Brown for a 25-yard touchdown pass with 7:49 left in the third, expanding Longview's lead to 26-15.
Leander countered with a 73-yard drive, ending with a six-yard touchdown run by Blake Gideon. Gideon, who has orally committed to the University of Texas, played at least five positions on offense for Leander. He finished with two touchdowns and 82 total yards, while also playing a full game at safety on defense.
But after Longview struck back with an 80-yard drive that ended with Garrett's 18-yard touchdown run, Leander found tough sledding, with both of its remaining drives ending on downs in Longview territory.
Leander had to earn its rushing yards, 158 on 40 carries. Leander running back Reggie Hodges had rushed for over 200 yards in each of Leander's three previous games, but ended with 96 yards.
''Speed just took over. I don't know if we've played a team with that much speed,'' Gideon said. ''Longview doesn't have any weak links.''
Leander's last chance to get back into the game ended at the Longview 7-yard line with 7:35 remaining, as Hodges caught a screen pass, but was stopped by Longview cornerback Dontray Nelson for a seven-yard gain when Hodges needed nine for a first down.
Longview's defense did not force a turnover, but did have six tackles for losses, including two by tackle Dominique Morgan. Nelson said he was inspired by linebacker Dacorris Ford, and his own desire to make up for a mistake.
''I was inspired by number 91: Dacorris Ford. He played like a man today. He's my boy,'' Nelson said. ''When he gets hyped, we get hyped.''
It appeared that Longview would have an easy time in the opening moments of the game. Leander snapped the ball out of the end zone for a Longview safety to open the scoring.
Johnson returned the ensuing free kick to the Leander 31-yard line and Garrett shook off two tacklers for a 31-yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage to give Longview a 9-0 lead with 9:46 left in the first quarter.
Leander recovered quickly, as Hodges sprinted 71 yards for a touchdown two plays later. After holding Longview to a three-and-out possession, Leander marched 77 yards, making two fourth-down conversions, including a 22-yard touchdown run by Gideon with 2:07 left in the first. Gideon also caught an ensuing pass for a two-point conversion to give Leander a 15-9 lead.
The Lobos regained command of the game in the second quarter, going against the wind. Zach Decker kicked a 24-yard field goal with 6:55 left in the second.
Longview's first-half play with the most guts was Lewis throwing a pass into the wind to Brown. Brown made a couple moves after catching the ball, turning the catch into a 51-yard gain.
The clutch pass play set up a one-yard touchdown plunge by Garrett with 19 seconds left in the first half, giving Longview a 19-15 halftime lead. Garrett had 86 yards rushing in the first half, while Hodges had 90 yards.
Brown finished with 86 yards receiving, Lewis had 142 yards passing and Johnson had 59 total yards. Leander quarterback Eric Massoni also had some success navigating the wind, passing for 167 yards, completing 19 of 24 passing attempts.