|LONGVIEW - A two-point missed conversion was bad enough, but an ensuing 72-yard Longview scoring drive added insult to injury as the Lobos sent Abilene packing to West Texas here Friday night on the short end of a 21-13 non-district score.
For Longview, which had to overcome 90 yards in penalties as well as a stubborn Abilene defense, the picture went from bleak to bright in a span of 4:14 late in the game. Holding a 14-7 lead with 4:31 remaining, the Eagles' Matt Waldman crashed through to block a Scott Dillard punt, with the ball bouncing into the end zone where Jimmy Loza gathered it for a touchdown to narrow the gap to 14-13. Lobo middle linebacker did some crashing through of his own - on Abilene's two-point conversion attempt - and caused quarterback Karl Kearney to overthrow intended receiver Austin England.
Breathing a sigh of relief, coach Doug Cox put the Hunter combination - brothers Ronnie and Fred - to work. The result was a 10-play, 72-yard march. Ronnie, who rushed for 115 yards on 22 carriers, lunged the ball six times in the drive and picked up 40 yards and fred capped it with a 23-yard scoring scamper with only 19 seconds left in the game.
The win was Longview's third in as many games, closing out the non-district slate, and the first over a West Texas rep since 1975 when Odessa Permian pulled out a 10-9 win in the state semifinals. Abilene is 1-2 on the season.
"I learned a lot about this team's character tonight," said a drained Cox moments after the victory. "They had to overcome a lot and they beat a good team. It was a good win, a real good win. If we can correct the mistakes we're making, I think we'll be tough to beat."
The Lobos will had next week off and open 14-AAAAA play against Nacogdoches in two weeks.
Longview wasted little time in showing its visitors it mean business. After the Eagles' opening possession stalled and Terry Morrow returned to punt 15 yards to the Abilene 44, quarterback Kenny Frazier quickly picked up where he left off in the aerial department last week by faking Ronnie Hunter into the heart of the defense and connecting with a wide-open Donnie Centers for a 44-yard scoring strike with 7:49 left on the first quarter clock. Jessie Floyd kicked the first of his three point afters.
However, a Longview fumble by Gahlen Johnson on a punt return set Abilene up in business at the Lobo 41 just two minutes later and the Eagles cashed in to knot the score at 7-all when fullback David Flores skirted left end from 17 yards out with 2:18 left. It was the first running touchdown allowed by the "Mean Green" defense this year.
Ronnie Hunter put Longview back in the lead, 14-7, with a one-yard blast at 7:38 of the second period, climaxing a 12-play, 60-yard effort. The score remained at the margin until Abilene's end zone recovery in the last stanza.
Longview clearly held the edge in all statistically departments: 259-101 in rushing yards, 74-26 passing and 337-127 in total yardage. Abilene's leading rusher was Darrell Newman, with just 34 yards on 12 carries.
Particularly effective for the Lobos was Frazier. In addition to his four-of-five for 74 yards and a touchdown performance, he picked up a modest 30 yards on the ground in seven attempts, three of which picked up first downs.
Longview was hit with four 15-yard penalties and a 10-yarder, while Abilene was penalized seven times for 47 yards.