ARLINGTON - December football is coming back to Longview.
With a stingy defensive performance and an efficient and dominant offensive output, the Lobos are returning to the fourth round of the postseason for the first time since 2010 with a 35-14 win over Wylie in a Class 5A, Division I, Region II semifinal Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
"It was a big game for us and something that we talked to the kids about," Longview head coach John King said. "This is the 10th team in Longview history that's made it four rounds deep. That's in 107 years of football.
"That tells you how special this team is."
Longview awaits the winner of Mansfield Lake Ridge and Mesquite Poteet, who closed out a quadruple header at AT&T Stadium on Saturday. The Lobos will meet that winner at 9 p.m. Saturday back in Arlington.
Tylan Miller rushed for 174 yards and three scores as Longview rolled up 440 yards of total offense. It was the senior running back's 12th career 100-yard game and 10th with at least two touchdowns.
D'Crayvan Polk added two scores and 50 yards on eight carries.
In total, Longview finished with 308 yards on the ground.
"We've got a stable full of backs and tonight was his night," King said of Miller. "When they all had the opportunity, they took it. Tylan was what we needed tonight against that Wylie team."
The Lobos matched their bread-and-butter run game with an efficient passing attack as well with quarterback Michael Ross connecting on 6-of-7 pass attempts for 132 yards. Chris Braggs and Jon Sorey hauled in two catches each, finishing with 51 and 47 yards, respectively, for the Lobos, who had 75 passing yards total in the first two playoff games this season. Miller also hauled in a 30-yard pass.
"How about that passing game," King said. "We can throw the football. We just haven't needed to."
Matching the Lobo offense was a defense that held Wylie (8-5) to 216 total yards, including two yards per rush attempt and six catches in 22 passing attempts from a Wylie team that averaged 402 yards per game entering Saturday's matchup. Fifty-seven percent of the Pirates' offensive numbers came on three plays - passes of 61, 31 and 32 yards.
"I thought the defense played great tonight," King said. "We had a great plan that they kids executed. We had a bust or two but after that, we were sound in what we did. The defensive line, out of a three-man front, provided a lot of pressure."
"They were a pretty good team," senior defensive back Josh Johnson said. "There was a lot going on, a lot of commotion. We kept our heads in the game and played our game - everyone playing together as a whole and playing through adversity."
Aiding Wylie, however, was 10 flags thrown against Longview, totaling 123 yards - both season highs for the Lobos.
Both teams notched 52 yards each in a scoreless first quarter.
The Lobos broke through on the first play of the second with Polk punching in a three-yard score after the Lobos converted a fourth down - pushing Longview's conversion rate to 20-for-21 in that department.
The Lobo defense responded a three-and-out - the first of four forced on the night, giving the Darkside defense 46 on the year.
On the next possession, Ross hit Miller for 30 yards before Braggs hauled down a 45-yard reception to the Wylie 1, setting up Miller's first score on the next play.
On third-and-four at its own 14, Wylie took a tipped ball 61 yards downfield and was in the end zone two plays later on Emilo Ames' 13-yard pass to Jordan Whaley.
After an onside kick attempt - the first of three attempted by Wylie that were all recovered by Longview - Ross found Sorey for 34 yards and Miller answered with a 14-yard score, making it 21-7 at halftime.
Miller's third score made it 28-7 Longview with 8:16 left in the third quarter.
Aided by a Longview penalty, Ames and the Pirates navigated the field with Ames and Whaley hooking up again on a 31-yard scoring strike.
Longview took another short field down the Wylie 1 but stalled and a failed fake field goal attempt pinned the Pirates at its own one-yard line.
The Lobo defense, again, fit the bill, forcing a Wylie punt from its own 22, highlighted by a nine-yard tackle for loss from defensive end Bryan Gilliland.
Seven plays and 64 yards later, Polk was in the end zone to seal the Lobo victory and bring them back to AT&T Stadium on Saturday.
"Coach King just kept telling us to restore the order and be the beast of the east," Johnson said. "We came out and did that today together."