LONGVIEW - It doesn't take much to get Longview rolling. And on Friday night, one lost fumble completely changed the complexion of the game.
Laurent Johnson's fumble recovery ignited a 28-point Longview barrage in the final 6:11 of the opening half, propelling the Lobos to a 55-30 win over Lufkin at a rain-soaked Lobo Stadium in the 74th meeting between the old East Texas rivals.
Longview junior running back Ja'Mycal Hasty continued his strong start to the season by rushing for 200 yards and three touchdowns, the first of which coming on a 29-yard run that gave the Lobos (3-1) a 14-10 lead just three plays after Johnson's recovery of Lufkin (1-3) running back Steven Sowell's fumble.
Hasty, who had 509 yards and three touchdowns entering Friday's action, was the driving force behind a Longview offense that put up 490 total yards on 53 plays - an average of more than nine yards per snap.
Lufkin's next play from scrimmage ended in disaster when Longview senior safety Travin Howard stepped in front of a Trey Cumbie pass and sprinted 35 yards to the end zone for a 21-10 lead. Hasty's second touchdown of the half - a 5-yard run - came on Longview's next possession and was set up by a 42-yard completion from Dezmond Chumley to Stephon Anthony.
Following a three-and-out, Longview took over at its own 43 with 1:05 remaining until halftime. Chumley hit tight end Jordan Whitaker for 28 yards on the first play, and connected with Anthony at the 10 before the receiver slipped through a would-be tackler and into the end zone for a 34-yard score and 35-10 lead with one second showing on the clock.
"That was back-breaker, the second quarter," said Longview coach John King. "It got us rolling and gave us a 25-point lead into the half. And unless you go out and just lay an egg you have control of the game. So that was big for us."
Chumley had perhaps his best outing of the young season, completing 12 of 19 attempts to seven different receivers for 204 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 21 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
"He played better tonight that he had the last couple of weeks," King said. "And Lord, who would have thought it in the rain? But sometimes you throw it better in the rain. I thought he threw the ball better, he was protected better and made great decisions."
Lufkin marched 75 yards in 10 plays on the opening drive of the second half, scoring on Cumbie's 15-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Jeffery on fourth-and-10, which cut Longview's lead to 35-17.
Hasty responded immediately, racing 66 yards to the end zone on the first play of the Lobos' ensuing drive, which gave Longview a 41-17 lead after a missed extra point.
"The second half they get the ball and march down the field and score on a fourth-and-10, and that kinda lets the air out of your team," King said. "Fortunately for us, one play and we get it back."
Lufkin continued to effectively move the ball in the second half, scoring on a 1-yard run by Sowell and a 41-yard pass from Cumbie to Coutee, but Longview answered both with touchdowns of its own - a 12-yard pass from Chumley to Whitaker and a 54-yard run by Quatorian Jacobs.
Cumbie finished the night 13-of-25 for 172 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions - two belonging to Longview free safety Stephan Maxey. Junior receiver Key'vantanie "KeKe" Coutee had seven catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
Sowell led Lufkin on the ground with 85 yards on 23 carries, and added a 68-yard touchdown pass to Coutee after receiving an option pitch for Cumbie, which gave Lufkin a 10-7 lead with 8:52 remaining in the second quarter.
The Panthers then forced a Longview three-and-out, and appeared to have all the momentum before Sowell's fumble turned the tide.
Lufkin's first possession of the night traveled 71 yards in 18 plays and ended with Timmy Martinez's 31-yard field goal for a 3-0 Panthers lead with just :25 remaining in the opening quarter. Longview had the answer, driving 75 yards in only nine plays and scoring on a 3-yard keeper by Chumley for a 7-3 lead just 1:08 into the second quarter.
Each team begins district play next week. Lufkin hosts A&M Consolidated in the 14-5A opener, while Longview entertains reigning 12-5A champion Mesquite on Friday night.
"To be 3-1 and playing the people we've played … really we're a couple plays away from being 4-0," King said. "Of course, we could be 2-2 as well. But that's what football is. It's a game of inches and it's a game of four, five, six plays each week that decides the outcome … that'll swing the momentum and get your kids off and running."