DALLAS - Longview started the year with a furious comeback, and the Lobos kept the season going with another on Saturday night.
Two quick turnovers found the Lobos (13-1) down by 20 midway through the first quarter of their Class 4A Division I Region II final against Waxahachie. However, just as Longview had done in erasing its 17-point halftime deficit in the opener against Allen, the Lobos roared back to take the lead at intermission and held off the Indians for a 50-26 victory at John Kincaide Stadium.
"We were just thinking about the Allen game," said senior running back Da'Cedric Hunt who led Longview with 98 yards rushing and three touchdowns. "It's our senior year, and we can't let it be our last game. We just came in, and we got ourselves back together, got our heads straight and we came out fighting."
Longview advances to face Denton Guyer next Saturday in the state semifinal.
The Indians (13-1) looked like they would rally back themselves -- taking a 26-20 lead on a 99-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Venique Benton to junior receiver LaDarius Brown with 4:02 remaining in the third quarter -- but the rest of the game belonged to the Lobos, as they reeled off 29-unanswered points. They forced three second-half turnovers, and their three-headed rushing attack of Hunt, senior Tyler McCray and senior quarterback Aaron Johnson wore down the Indians. Johnson finished with 98 yards and one touchdown, and McCray had 72 yards and two touchdowns.
"They started running at us and won the trenches," Waxahachie coach David Ream said. "They won the game in the trenches. We couldn't move the football, and we couldn't stop them. We were hoping they'd throw the ball. We tried to load the box, but they have such great backs, we just couldn't stop them. "
The game started much better for the Indians. Senior Jamison Stearns led Waxahachie on a game-opening scoring drive, busting open a 55-yard touchdown run on a tense 4th-and-1. He took a sweep around the left end and up the sideline untouched for six.
Then, the Indians defense began to take over. Brown jumped an out route at his own 45-yard line, and returned the interception to the 5-yard line to set up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Stearns a play later. Stearns finished with a game-high 106 yards on 10 carries.
Brown caught three passes for 125 yards and made just as big an impact on defense, setting up the Indians offense with his play on the other side of the ball, forcing turnovers to stop the first two Longview drives. His second, a fumble-recovery deep in Longview territory set up a 1-yard scamper by Lajordan Easley.
"We caught a couple of big breaks off turnovers, and we took advantage of them," Ream said.
After Easley's score, Waxahachie's Taylor Brown bounced the extra point off the upright and the momentum of the game shifted right to Longview along with it.
Longview finally got its offense going late in the first quarter, riding a 23-yard run by Hunt to move into the red zone and set up a 3-yard touchdown run off tackle by McCray with 1:19 left in the opening frame.
After a three-and out by Waxahachie, McCray got going, ripping off runs of 17 and 15 yard to set up Johnson's 3-yard keeper for a touchdown to draw within a possession at 20-14 with 8:36 left.
The Indians moved into Longview territory at the 38-yard line, but Lobos linebacker Chris Weaver came up with a huge tackle for loss, snagging Gagliano nine yards deep in the backfield on an end around to force a punt at midfield.
Longview took over with only 51 ticks left on the clock, but needed only two plays to find the end zone and its first lead. Johnson moved out wide and Rayshone McGee found him for a 45-yard gain, then fullback Dakota Anthony bounced off tackle untouched for the go ahead score with just 23 seconds left before halftime.