|LONGVIEW - If there were any doubts Longview should be the state's top ranked team, the Lobos put them to rest. At least, they made Fort Worth Eastern Hills into believers.
With an electrifying offense, paced by Joe Johnson's two long-range touchdowns and a stubborn defense, which forced six turnovers, Longview routed the Highlanders, 38-14, in Lobo Stadium Friday night to avenge last year's 26-15 season-opening loss. The Lobos frustrated, humiliated and dominated their opponents. And in the process, Longview fans simply celebrated.
"I thought it would be close," said a jubilant Longview coach Doug Cox after the contest. "Our kids executed and played hard both ways. Maybe not played well, but they played hard."
Longview made its first move when defensive end Carlton Drain stripped Eastern Hills running back Frank Braziel of the ball and the Lobos recovered at the Highlanders' 46.
After Johnson's 24-yard run was called back on a holding penalty, the Lobos used a little trickery to score their first touchdown of 1984.
Quarterback Eric Harris dropped back to pass, but handed off to Johnson on the old Statue of Liberty play. Harris darted down the left sideline, picked up a key downfield block from Leon Hendrix and outran the secondary for a 55-yard touchdown.
Jason Baird added the PAT and Longview led 7-0 with 9:49 showing.
"After last year, with their shifting and finessing us, we decided to finesse them," Cox explained. "We didn't whip 'em at first. We finessed them for 17 points and then we whipped them."
A poor punt set Longview up for its next score.
The Lobos took possession at their own 41 and three plays later, Johnson ripped off a 33-yard scoring scamper off a power swap right. Baird again added the PAT.
But the Lobos weren't finished in the first period.
Glenn Moore intercepted Eastern Hills' Mike Nelson on the ensuing play and returned it 34 yards to the 10. The Lobos stalled, though, and Phillip Blaschke came in to boo a 31-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead.
Eastern Hills, a strong contender to win District 6-AAAAA, scored its only touchdown of the first half with 8:03 showing in the second period.
Blaschke bobbled the snap and Reggie Green stormed in to block the punt. Braziel caught the deflection and rambled in from the 12 to cut the margin to 17-7.
Longview answered angrily.
A weird call on a fumbled Highlander punt gave the Lobos possession at the Eastern Hills 21. Three plays later, Harris caught his way into the end zone from 11-yards out.
A partially blocked punt on Eastern Hills next possession put the Lobos in business at the visitor's 43. On the next play Harris found Charles Smith wide open on a fly pattern behind Green for a touchdown just 59 seconds before the half.
Carter Meyer added the PAT and Longview took a 31-7 lead into the locker room at intermission.
The Lobos' only second half touchdown came on a 7-yard pass from reserve quarterback Scott Hill to Hendrix.
Eastern Hills ended the scoring with 3:47 to play when Nelson avoided two tacklers in the backfield and lofted a high pass into the end zone. Gary Hunter pulled down the pas for a 35-yard touchdown.
Johnson, who played just one play in the second had, finished the game with 116 yards on 13 carries.