LONGVIEW - After falling behind 14-7 at intermission, Longview's Lobos came out in the second half and did a number on the John Tyler Lions, securing a playoff berth in the process.
Sparked by Joe Johnson runs, Eric Harris passes and ball control offense, the Lobos scored second-half touchdowns on two Johnson runs and another by Harris, giving Longview a 28-22 victory here Friday night at Lobo Stadium in their homecoming game.
With the win, the Lobos advance their season record to 7-1 and 6-0 in District 13-AAAAA play. Longview is assured of a playoff spot, and the district championship will be decided next week in a game with 6-0 Pine Tree.
John Tyler, eliminated from playoff contention, stands 3-3 in loop action.
Johnson rushed for 176 yards, his fifth straight 100-yard game, picking up 139 of that in these second half. He broke free on a 28-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, securing the victory, and had a 4-yard touchdown in the third which tied the score at 14.
Harris passed for a season-high 181, completing 7 of 10. He connected with wingback Charles Smith on an electrifying 85-yard touchdown in the first quarter, answering John Tyler's go-ahead score in the opening minutes.
The junior signal-caller also picked up a touchdown on a 1-yard bootleg in the final period.
John Tyler scored on the game's opening drive, and with less than two minutes gone on a 2-yard plunge by running back Dale Dixon, who had 45 yards on the night.
Dixon, ranked third in the district among rushers before the game, had 43 of his yards in the first half.
Also contributing John Tyler touchdowns were quarterback Stanley Smith, a Lindale transfer, on a 6-yard keeper, and Mike Jones on a 33-yard pass from Smith. Anthony Lemons, who snagged four Smith aerials, also contributed a two-point conversion on another pass from Smith.
"Coach (Don) Johnson suggest at halftime that we should go to the unbalanced line, and it worked," said Longview head coach Doug Cox after the game. "Our kids really came on in the second half. They reached down when we had to.
"I think this second half was the best half they've played all season."
Taking possession at their own 6-yard line to begin the second half, the Lobos marched 94 yards in 14 plays to knot the contest at 14. Johnson was the workhouse, carrying the football 10 of those plays, including seven straight to get the drive started.
A Harris keeper on third down and one caught the district's top-rated defense off guard, and he rambled 12 yards to the John Tyler 34.
Runs by Johnson and O'Neal Jackson moved the ball closer, before Johnson ran it in from the 4.
The drive used more than five minutes off the clock.
John Tyler came right back when Curt Edwards returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards to the Lobo 18, where kicker Steve Blaschke made a touchdown saving bump out of bounds.
But after a 2-yard loss, linebacker Victor Crane intercepted an errant Smith pass near the goal line and returned it to the Longview 26.
From there, the ball control Lobo offense mourned another scoring drive.
Yet another Harris keeper on third down gave the Lobos a first down at their own 39. Johnson move date ball closer before Harris connected with Smith for 14 yards to the 22.
Then, five plays later Harris capped the eight-minute drive on his 1-yard touchdown keeper, making it 21-14 with 8:16 remaining.
An onside kick results in another Lobo possession when Mike Boyd recovered. And the Lobos marched in for another score.
This time, Johnson broke free on a sweep to the right, rambling 28 yards to advance Longview's lead to 28-14.
The Lions came back, with the help of a pair of passes to Lemons, and a 24-yard scramble by Smith. Two plays later, Smith kept from the 10 for six points.