LONGVIEW - Riding the crest of its tenacious "Mean Green" defensive unit, the No. 2 ranked Longview Lobos bottled up an explosive, previously unbeaten John Tyler Lions outfit here Friday night, 23-0, for its events straight victory of the season.
John Tyler managed just 35 total yards the entire second half and 108 for the game after entering the key 14-AAAA contest with a 279.0 yards per game average. Tackles Steve Bradham and Hosea Taylor bottled up most ground thrusts the Lions could muster and kept constant pressure on quarterback Kevin Dennis when he elected to go to the air.
Dennis finished with just four completions in 26 attempts for 60 yards and suffered one interception, a steal by Thomas Cook in the end zone to squelch a Lion scoring late in the game.
Taylor, a 6'5, 245-pound junior, smothered John Tyler running back Richard Ross in the end zone late in the second period for a two-point safety and a 9-0 lead at the halftime buzzer.
The Lions were stingy with the Lobo offense, as well, holding it to 169 total yards over 200 yards below is per game average. But the Lobo defense, which has allowed just 10 points in the seven wins, hand the "Green Machine" tremendous field position.
Longview had to travel just 68 total yards for its three touchdowns, one coming after a fumble recovery at the John Tyler one-yard line. The Lobos, however, had driven to the John Tyler one only moments before where tailback Leo McCoy had the ball knocked from his grasps and recovered by the Lions' Duane Ginn, who recovered three for the night.
Two plays alter Taylor pounced on a Lion bobble in the middle of the line. Quarterback Llewellyn Fambles faked to McCoy at right tackle and sprinted around the right end untouched and almost unnoticed for the score with 6:34 left in the third quarter and 15-0 lead.
Longview fumbled the ball seven times and lost five but the proud defense, which has shutout five of its opponents, held the Lions intact all night long.
John Tyler got as deep as the Longview 14 and to the 30 and 33 on other occasions, but could not penetrate the wall of Lobo defenders.
The Lions moved from their own 17 to the Longview 29 but a yard setback and three straight incompletions halted the march. On the advance to the 33, once again three consecutive incompletions fell short to thwart a bid. And the drive only began at the Longview 41 after a Lobo fumble.
The time John Tyler was at the 14 followed a 68-yard kickoff return to the Lobo 16. Two running plays netted two yards, a pass fell incomplete and Cook intercepted his pass on the fourth down play.
Bradham dropped a John Tyler sweep play for a six-yard loss immediately before Taylor did his thing on an eight-yard loss for the safety in the second period. The play was a reverse attempt but was smelled out perfectly by the rangy Taylor.
Longview lit the scoreboard the firs time it touched the ball on offense. A swirling wind and Lobo bounce credit John Tyler kicker Tony Brown with an 18-yard punt on the first Lion possession of the game. The Lobos took over at the John Tyler 41 and moved the necessary yardage in seven plays, aided by a 33-yard pass interference penalty on the Lions.
McCoy scored his first of two touchdowns to put Longview in the lead, one it would never relinquish.
McCoy later added his 12th touchdown of the season on a one-yard plunge and Taylor reeled in a two-point conversion pass from Tim Martin for the final 23-0 nod.
Longview will trek to Texarkana next week while John Tyler and Lufkin battle it out in Tyler's Rose Stadium.