|ROCKWALL - Longview got something from everybody on Friday night in the District 11-6A opener against Rockwall.
That's what it was going to take.
Behind a balanced night offensively and another gutsy effort from the defense, Longview took its first lead with nine minutes left and held on for a 42-35 win over the Yellowjackets at Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium.
"It was a heck of a ballgame and went about like we expected," Longview head coach John King said. "There were some fireworks and we knew that we were going to have to match them score-for-score, make some stops and maybe get a turnover and a lead."
With the win, Longview moves to 5-0 on the season and 1-0 in 11-6A action. Rockwall drops to 2-2 on the year and 0-1 in league play.
After Longview's go-ahead touchdown with 9:00 showing on the clock, Robert Pierce pulled down an interception and the Lobos converted a fourth down to go to victory formation in the back-and-forth shootout that didn't see either team lead by more than seven points.
Keilyn Williams finished with 188 yards rushing and hit the 200-yard mark with two catches for 31 yards in the win.
"Toughness and grit, that's what I saw from him," King said of Williams. "He was running extremely hard and is tough to bring down.
"They were trying to rip the ball from him but they were going to have to rip his heart out first. Great job out of him and all of the guys around him tonight."
Jessie Anderson had 13 carries for 56 yards and three catches for 24 yards with a touchdown for the Lobos. Kaden Meredith rounded out a 287-yard night on the ground with 25 yards and two touchdowns.
Haynes King finished 18-of-25 for 299 yards and three touchdowns, extending his interception-free season to five games. King added 38 yards rushing.
Kamden Perry was on the receiving end of two touchdowns and had six catches for 118 yards. Kaden Kearbey hauled in four passes for 76 yards. Tight end Daquavion Randall made a big 19-yard touchdown catch to round out the passing-game scoring.
"Offensively, we were able to move the ball and, with the exception of the turnover and a couple of holding calls, we played well," King said."
From the very start, the Lobo defense took on a monster night from Rockwall junior blue-chip receiver Jaxon Smith, who hauled in the third play of the game for a touchdown on the way to a 13-catch, 289-yard night. He added another score through the air on the third quarter to go with a 28-yard touchdown run.
Rockwall finished with 345 passing yards from senior quarterback Jacob Clark, who went 20-of-29 before Pierce's interception. The Yellowjackets added 118 yards on the ground.
But the Lobo defense made crucial stops when the game was on the line, including two fourth-quarter three and outs.
"We knew that we were just going to have to get a few stops and feed off of that," King said. "After the onside kick in the first half, that was huge, and then they came up big again in the fourth quarter."
Smith's 28-yard touchdown out of the wildcat put Rockwall ahead, 14-7, after the first quarter. The Yellowjackets then recovered an onside kick before the Lobo defense, with a sack from Jordan Wallace and a tackle for loss from James Reese, held the Yellowjackets to a three-and-out.
King and Randall connected on the next series for a 14-all game.
Rockwall went back ahead on a 12-play, 65-yard march. The Lobos coughed up a fumble on the next drive and, once again, the defense held, forcing a turnover on downs at the Lobo seven yard line. A high snap negated a last-minute drive and sent Rockwall into the break with a 21-14 lead.
Longview connected on a third-down to open the second half on a 17-yard hookup between King and Perry, setting off five-straight possessions with points.
With 28 seconds left in the third quarter, King escaped pressure, rolled out and hit Perry for a 35-35 tie heading into the final 12 minutes.
Longview snuffed out a fake punt and Meredith put Longview ahead, 42-35, on a two-yard score.
After a missed 48-yard field goal from the Lobos, Pierce hauled in Rockwall's lone turnover on the night.
"They brought a guy out of the backfield in the middle of the field and Robert made a heck of a play," King said. "He took the ball away."
The Lobos, who finished 7-of-11 on third down, converted one before a 4th and 6 at the Rockwall 28 prompted the final timeout. King and Perry then connected for 14 yards and a first down to seal it.
Longview now head into its bye week at 5-0.
"It's a huge shot in the arm for this football team," King said. "We're 5-0 after playing some great opponents.
"It's extremely important to come on the road and beat a good Rockwall team."