IRVING - Longview's 2008 football season lives, because Aaron Johnson was quick on the draw.
Johnson scored a two-point conversion on a quarterback draw to give the Lobos a thrilling, 43-42 overtime victory over Waco Midway in the Class 4A Division I Region II final on Saturday. After Tyler McCray scored on a 12-yard touchdown run, Johnson ran on the left side of the line for the conversion, stretching out the ball to make the score by inches. Johnson had 164 total yards and accounted for 22 Longview points.
The Lobos (12-2) advance to a state semifinal for the first time since 1997 and will face Denton Guyer (12-2) next Saturday at Texas Stadium at 8 p.m. Guyer defeated previously unbeaten Wolfforth Frenship, 37-35, on a 23-yard field goal on the final play of the game in Saturday's Region I final in Lubbock.
Midway (12-2) had a 12-game winning streak snapped and was denied its third trip to the state semifinals since 1997.
The victory could be considered an escape because the Lobos could not stop the Midway offense in the second half and overtime, especially standout running back John Hubert. Hubert rushed for 284 yards and four touchdowns, including a nine-yard scoring run in overtime. Hubert concludes the best single-season in Waco city history with 2,845 yards rushing with 41 touchdowns.
Midway sent the game into overtime on a one-yard touchdown sneak by Todd Glaesmann with seven seconds remaining in regulation. The Panthers gained possession of the ball with 3:27 left when McCray was stopped for no gain on a fourth-and-one at the Midway 29-yard line.
Hubert had 69 yards rushing on 11 carries on the game-tying drive. Longview nearly gained possession of the ball with under a minute when Chris Knighton stripped Hubert of the ball, but Trey Graham recovered for Midway.
Midway scored touchdowns on all five of its second-half and overtime possessions. Hubert rushed for 214 yards in that span, with second-half touchdown runs of 1 and 54 yards.
Longview took a 27-14 lead with 4:12 left in the third quarter on a six-yard touchdown run by Johnson, but Kyle Jenkins' extra point attempt was wide right.
Midway struck back with a 65-yard drive capped by a one-yard touchdown run with 1:06 left in the third, but the Lobos countered with a 66-yard drive capped by an eight-yard touchdown run by McCray, who had his third consecutive 100-yard playoff game with 101 yards. Johnson followed with what would eventually be a critical two-point conversion run. Hubert's 54-yard touchdown run with 6:39 left set up the late regulation and overtime drama.
The Lobos started to take control of the game late in the first quarter. McCray had an 18-yard touchdown run to give Longview a 7-0 lead with 2:56 left in the first quarter, capping a 66-yard drive. On the play before the touchdown, the Lobos got a break as Midway's Shakiel Randolph forced McCray to fumble, but McCray was able to fall on the ball.
The game's first big play was the first play of the second quarter when Longview defensive back Alonte Darden intercepted a Corey Holmes pass and returned it 36 yards to the Midway 18-yard line. Johnson scored on a 15-yard touchdown run two plays later.
From that point, the Lobos took two gambles.
The first one didn't work as the ensuing kickoff was an onside attempt recovered by Midway's Cory Ferguson. Midway needed 52 yards to cut the lead to 14-7 on a four-yard touchdown run by Hubert. The drive was extended when Holmes found Glaesmann for a 22-yard pass on a third-and-16 play.
Longview's second gamble paid off.
Facing a fourth-and-one at the 50-yard line, the Lobos executed a fake punt with Ladarrin Robertson rambling 23 yards. The play, which was similar to a fake punt in the second quarter of Longview's 41-14 win over Pine Tree on Oct. 30, set up a 24-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to wide-open Cody Taylor with 1:56 left in the first half, helping give Longview a 21-7 halftime lead.