|ARLINGTON - Something had to give late Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
Mansfield Lake Ridge's run through the season was nothing short of a dominant one. In the playoffs, that was only intensified.
In the Class 5A, Division I, Region II final, the Longview Lobos went toe-to-toe with the juggernaut.
"Our kids battled every snap, every play," Longview head coach John King said. "That team we played was extremely talented and well coached. We knew it was going to be a battle. At times it wasn't pretty. At times it was doom and gloom. We kept fighting back, kept responding and kept going. What an effort from our kids.
"We just came up a little bit short."
In a contest that featured more than 1,000 yards and 109 points combined, Longview erased an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit with a defensive stop and two quick touchdowns but fell just short in a 56-53 loss to undefeated Lake Ridge in the state quarterfinal round after midnight on Saturday.
Longview's season comes to an end at 11-3. Lake Ridge (14-0) advances to the state semifinals where they'll square off with Aledo next.
Saturday night's defeat marked the second-straight season that Lake Ridge eliminated the Lobos. In the 2014 area round, a potential game-winning field goal sailed wide left. In 2015, the potential game-tying field goal inside the final minute had the same result.
Longview finished with 485 yards of total offense, the third highest put up for the Lobos this season.
Senior running back Tylan Miller finished with 200 yards - matching a career high - on 21 rush attempts with two touchdowns to lead a 272-yard night on the ground for the Lobos.
Quarterback Michael Ross went 4-for-8 with a season-high in total yards with 213 yards and in touchdowns with three, including two scores in the final 8:30 minutes of action.
Braylynn Anthony finished with 143 yards of total offense, notching two rushing touchdowns and hauling in a 74-yard catch-and-run from Ross. Chris Braggs was on the receiving end of a 71-yard touchdown pass from Ross and tight end Jordan Wyatt went 64 yards on a scoring strike.
Lake Ridge quarterback Jett Duffey accounted for 389 of the Eagles' 574 total yards. The elusive dual-threat gunslinger finished 21-for-29 passing with two touchdowns and 255 yards and had 134 yards and two scores on the ground. Complementing Duffey was tailback Duke Carter, who rumbled for 164 yards - 94 in the second half - with four touchdowns on 33 carries.
Longview's scoring drives went for 10, nine, five, four, three, two and two coming on one play as Lake Ridge held a 87-50 advantage in plays run in the contest. The Eagles excelled on fourth down, finishing 4-for-5 on conversion attempts.
"We just kept battling back and fighting," King said. "We got worn down in some areas with injuries but we just kept fighting. Lake Ridge is a hard team to defend and when you get tired, that task becomes even harder."
Lake Ridge was held to a punt on the first possession of the game before Tylan Miller got his night going with a 59-yard run on the first snap for the Lobos. Four plays later, Miller's three-yard run put the Lobos on the board with 7:00 left in the first quarter.
Lake Ridge responded quickly with Jett Duffey breaking a handful of tackles for a 52-yard scoring run.
The rest of the first half set the tone for the rest of the game.
After Longview's lone three-and-out of the first half, Lake Ridge claimed a 14-7 lead on a one-yard punch in from Duke Carter, capping a 15-play, 89-yard march early in the second quarter.
On the next snap, the score was tied once again when Ross connected with wide-open Jordan Wyatt for a 64-yard score.
Following Longview's second of three Lake Ridge onside kick attempts, Miller ripped a 42-yard run, setting up his second score on a one-yard punch in.
A 24-yard return on the ensuing kick from Jackson set the Eagles up at its own 47. Five plays later, on a 4th and 9, Duffey found Jimmy Enobabor with an on-the-money pass to the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown.
Longview went 84 yards on 19 plays with Cody Jenkins' pulling the Lobos to within four, 28-24, with a 33-yard field goal at the half.
The two teams exchanged touchdowns throughout the third quarter with Lake Ridge taking a 42-38 lead into the final 12 minutes.
Longview was held to its second punt of the contest with 11:45 left in the contest.
The Eagles pushed the margin to 11 points with an answer after the defensive stop, but the Lobos roared to within three points with 8:27 left on a 74-yard touchdown pass from Michael Ross to Braylynn Anthony.
Lake Ridge, again, had an answer with a 13-play, 77-yard drive to reclaim a 10-point lead.
Ross again went to the air, finding Chris Braggs for a 71-yard score. Then the Lobo defense held Lake Ridge to a turnover on downs.
The Lobos converted two third downs but stalled at the 19-yard line, but the potential game-tying 36-yard field goal sailed wide left to send the Eagles to victory formation.
"We didn't look at it as we were underdogs," King said. "We looked at it like we were going to have to play well. We felt like we could beat them and come up with a plan to do so. It was a play or two here or there.
"I'm proud of these kids. A lot of people didn't give them a chance at times this season. We battled back, got a share of the district title, won three playoff games and came within a hair of winning four."