|NACOGDOCHES - Just a few minutes removed from a thrilling one-point win over a rival in the fourth round of the postseason, Longview's JC Blakemore wanted to talk about just one thing.
Practice on Monday.
After the offense went ahead with the sixth lead change of the second half with less than a minute to go, the Lobo defense made sure there wouldn't be a seventh as Longview took a 33-32 shootout win over rival Lufkin in the Class 6A, Division II, Region II final on Saturday at SFA's Homer Bryce Stadium.
With the win, Longview (13-1) advances to the state semifinal game for the first time since 2010 and will meet Waco Midway, who moved to 14-0 with a 42-28 win over Southlake Carroll, in the 6A, Division II state semifinals at 6 p.m., Saturday at Eagle Stadium in Allen.
Lufkin's season ends at 11-3.
"It was a dogfight and we knew coming into this that it wasn't going to be easy, but we got the job done," said Blakemore who had a sack on Lufkin's final drive. "It's big for us and this team to be one of four left.
"We're going to keep a level head, go into practice, do what we're supposed to do and keep playing Lobo football."
A level head has the Lobos on the practice field for one more week. After going ahead 13-0 in the first half, Lufkin moved in front to open the third quarter, sparking a back-and-forth affair in the 81st meeting between the two teams in front of an estimated 20,000-plus fans.
"No quit, no panic," Longview head coach John King said of his team. "Our kids just went back-and-forth.
"We went up 13-0 and I told them, hold on boys. We've been here before and they can come back in a hurry and they did."
Lufkin marched 87 yards on 16 plays to take a 32-26 lead with 2:07 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Keilyn Williams, who started his junior campaign for Longview with a 98-yard kickoff return in Longview's 35-16 win over Lufkin in the season opener, returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to the Lufkin 38.
Three plays later, Sophomore quarterback Haynes King delivered his third touchdown pass and fourth score overall to Kamden Perry, who hauled down the 28-yard strike on his back in the end zone. Chris Kessler drilled the ensuing point-after to put Longview ahead, 33-32.
Blakemore had a sack on Lufkin's first play with under a minute to go before Jephaniah Lister pulled down the game-sealing interception, his fourth of the season and 21st overall for the Lobos.
"The big key was after the kickoff return, we got a first down and that enabled us to go to our traditional set with two backs and we didn't have to panic," John King said. "We still had time, could run the ball and run a play action, which is what we did.
"We got a big run on first down, fresh sticks on the pass to Kamden and (offensive coordinator) Chris Vallery called a great play. It was one we thought we had a shot at and Kamden made one heck of a catch."
Haynes King finished 13-of-21 passing for 177 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. He added 35 rushing yards, including a one-yard punch-in.
Perry hauled in eight passes for 113 yards and two touchdown passes, all career highs for the junior Lobo receiver. A'Darius Carter was on the receiving end of King's other touchdown toss, a 39-yard completion to put the Lobos ahead on the opening drive.
Longview finished with 204 rushing yards on 31 carries, led by Williams, who had 90 on the day, including a 22-yard score.
With 63 yards on 12 carries in the first half, Longview got the ground game going in the third quarter, sparked by the return of junior Jessie Anderson, who made his first carry since Week 2 in the second half. Anderson, a big body to complement Williams and Jaquan Edwards, had 55 yards on seven carries in his return from injury.
"We changed a little bit of what we were trying to do and we blocked a little better in the second half," King said of the ground game. "They're a good football team, big up front, and they did things a little bit different against us in the first half that overloaded some sets and we got whipped at the point of attack.
"Our kids played better up front, both backs had some big runs and it was good to see No. 5 (Anderson) get in there and punch it a little bit."
Defensively, Ja'Vontae Writt had a first-half interception for the Lobos, who made two-straight stops inside their own 30 to start the game before holding Lufkin to a field goal on the Panthers' third possession.
Once again, special teams played a big role for Longview. Lister added a blocked punt, Longview's ninth blocked kick overall this season. Roshodrick Harmon came away with a recovery on a muffed Lufkin punt, which led to King's one-yard score.
Lufkin senior running back Isaiah Phillips was an issue throughout for the Lobo defense. Phillips finished with 237 yards on 36 carries and three touchdowns on runs of two, eight and 36 yards.
Junior quarterback Kewone Thomas finished 16-of-23 passing for 183 yards with two interceptions. Malik Jackson had five catches for 62 yards and Ja'Lynn Polk, a Sophomore, had five catches for 60 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown.
King had two first-quarter touchdown passes to put Longview ahead, 13-0, after the first quarter.
A 21-yard field goal from Rodrigo Molina put Lufkin on the board with 11:22 left in the second quarter and the Panthers pulled to within three, 13-10, on Thomas' 22-yard pass to Polk for a three-point Lobo lead at halftime.
King's first pass attempt of the third quarter into the wind, which played a factor on Saturday, was picked off by Savon Fields, setting up Lufkin's go-ahead score, a two-yard run from Phillips.
Longview drove into Lufkin territory before punting from the Lufkin 45. Kessler dropped the kick inside the 10, which was muffed and recovered by Harmon. King punched in the score to put Longview ahead, 20-17, heading to the fourth quarter.
Lufkin went 92 yards on 11 plays, capped with Phillips' 32-yard touchdown run.
After a missed field goal from the Lobos, Lister blocked Lufkin's punt on the next drive and Williams had a 22-yard touchdown run to put Longview back on top, 26-24, with 7:46 left.
The Panthers converted four third downs on a 16-play, 87-yard drive with Phillips' third score and the ensuing two-point run from Thomas putting the Panthers ahead, 32-26, with 2:07 left.
After Williams' long kickoff return, Anderson had a five-yard run, Perry hauled in a five-yard first down pass before making the game-winning touchdown catch to advance Longview to the semifinal round.
"It's so great for this season and these 44 seniors who have meant so much to our program," King said. "We were fighting for our playoff spot earlier and now we're fighting week-to-week."