LONGVIEW - Longview's football team blanked Tyler Lee on Friday, 21-0, because Longview kept Lee from moving in the air, while the Lobos moved the ball on the ground.
Before 9,000 spectators at Lobo Stadium, the Longview defense picked off three passes, the most important a 36-yard return for a touchdown by Alonte Darden with 6:29 remaining. Longview's defense forced five turnovers and held the Red Raiders to 121 total yards of offense. Longview, ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press' Class 4A state poll, improves to 1-1, while Lee drops to 0-2.
Longview's defense had to hold ground until the Longview offense hit its stride.
The stride came with 4:17 left in the third quarter, when a two-yard touchdown plunge by Tyler McCray broke a scoreless tie. The touchdown capped an 87-yard drive on 10 consecutive rushing attempts. The drive started when the Longview defense forced Lee fullback Chase Wiley to fumble, with Longview linebacker Chris Weaver pouncing on the loose ball.
Lee's best chance to tie the game in the second half was late in the third quarter, when the Red Raiders received the ball on the Longview 36-yard line after a 14-yard punt. With 1:53 left in the third quarter however, Longview safety Lamarcus Howard intercepted a Wagner pass in the end zone for a touchback.
The Lobos clinched the win when Darius Watters recovered a Wagner fumble, then the Lobos ran eight straight running plays, capped by a 13-yard touchdown run by Aaron Johnson with 1:25 remaining.
Longview had 233 yards rushing on 47 carries, led by 99 yards from McCray. Jonathan Oliver added 57 yards on 10 carries, while Da'Cedric Hunt had 47 yards on six second-half carries. The running game made up for struggles in the passing game, as the Lobos had just 18 passing yards.
Neither team could get on the scoreboard in the first half. In that half, Longview's defense was outstanding, holding the Red Raiders to 22 total yards and two first downs, none in the first quarter.
However, the Lobos could not take advantage of two early scoring opportunities. On their second drive, the Lobos had a fourth-and-inches at the Lee 26-yard line, but the Lobos were called for illegal procedure, then fullback Oliver could not hang on to screen pass from Johnson, which probably would have gone for a first down.
Longview's other first-half scoring opportunity came with 3:58 left in the second quarter, when Longview defensive end Chris Knighton intercepted a Wagner pass and returned it to the Lee 44-yard line. On the ensuing drive however, the Lobos were knocked back for minus one yard.
The Lobos had 95 total yards and four first downs in the first half, with no first downs in the second quarter.
Longview's defense finished with seven tackles for losses, with two each from Knighton and Melvin Templeton. The Lobos held standout Lee running back Da Da Brown to 25 yards on 18 carries. Brown had 178 yards rushing in last year's 20-12 Longview win, including a 97-yard touchdown run.
Longview plays Mont Belvieu Barber's Hill this Friday at Stephen F. Austin State University's Homer Bryce Stadium in Nacogdoches. Lee hosts Dallas Kimball this Friday.