|LONGVIEW - In what will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the strangest wins in Longview history, the Lobos kept a string of 19 consecutive season openers without a loss intact Friday night with a 14-7 come-from-behind victory over seventh-ranked Fort With Eastern Hills.
It was a perfect example of what could only be termed "a comedy of errors" at Lobo Stadium as each team committed six turnovers - five fumbles a piece - with neither able to capitalize.
Eastern Hills let opportunities slip through its fingers twice early in the contest, both threats coming inside the Longview 10-yard line, both ending in fumbles.
On the other end of the field, the Lobos missed out on chances inside the Highlanders 10-, 18- and 6-yard lines.
However, Longview was able to utilize the "big plays" when it needed to.
After giving up a cheap touchdown three minutes into the second quarter following their second lost fumble inside the 20 in less than two minutes, the Lobos came on in the second half to post their third straight debut victory over the Highlanders.
Longview's Henry Shaw took the opening kickoff of the second half, lateral led to Donnie Centers at the five and provided a key block to spring a 43-yard return up near midfield.
The Lobos wasted no time in driving into Highlander territory as quarterback George Liggins fumbled the first snap from center, recovered it on the run and scampered 19 yards down to the 33. Four plays later, Liggins hit Kenneth Hendrix on a sideline route on fourth-and-10 for a 14-yard pickup down to the Eastern Hills 19 to keep the drive alive.
Two plays later, Liggins fumbled the snap once more but tackle Eddie Barba salvaged it. The Highlanders disputed the call and drew an unsportsmanlike conduct call that carried the ball inside the eight to make it first and goal at that point.
It took four plays and a face mask call before Liggins finally broke the barrier at the goal line to pull the Lobos to within one point, 7-6 with 8:51 to play in the third quarter. Wes McWhorter's PAT was wide let but the Lobos took too much time and were awarded another shot five yards back which McWhorter connected on to knot the score.
Eastern Hills lost a golden opportunity later on in the period when Longview fumbled its second punt snap of the night at its own 22. The Highlanders never got off the ground, though, as quarterback Scott Fricks' pitchout to blue-chip tailback Jeff Atkins was deflected and picked up by Will Pegues at the Lobo 29.
Longview missed its first shot at taking the lead minutes into the final quarter after Carlton Drain recovered a fumbled punt return at the Highlander 24.
Four plays later, McWhorter attempted a 40-yard field goal that missed short of the mark. Eastern Hills gave the Lobos yet another shot just four plays later when Fricks' pass intended for Andrew Livingston at the Highlander 40 was picked off by John Pickron, who dashed 29 yards down the far sideline before being run out of bounds by Atkins at the 11. Another unsportsmanlike conduct call set up shop at the six for Longview, and five plays up the middle later, Fred Hunter went in from one-yard out to make it 13-7 with 3:41 to play.