|LONGVIEW - How dominant was Longview? The Bryan scouts left at halftime, because they had seen all - and more - they wanted to see.
How dominant was Longview? Randall Hatley didn't punt until the Lobos' final possession of the game.
It all added up to, yes, indeed, a mighty impressive performance for the Lobos, who 40-point, first-half explosion led to a rousing 49-19 triumph in the regular season finale at Lobo Stadium Friday night. The win sends the No.8-ranked 9-1 powerhouse into bi-district action next week against undefeated and fourth-ranked Bryan on an upbeat note head coach Doug Cox was hoping to get.
Stellar tailback Joe Johnson wasted little little tim in showing why he is listed among the top runners in the state, piling up 228 yards by the halftime intermission and finished with a school single-game record 234 and a school single-season mark of 1,405. He scored on touchdown runs of 6 and 39 yards in the first and second quarters to stake Longview to a 40-7 advantage.
Although Johnson, who also captured the district rushing title, carried just four times in the second half, he had already picked up the necessary yards to surpass the 210-yard mark of Gahlen Johnson, set four years ago.
The triumph is Longview's sixth in seven tries against crosstown rival Pine Tree, which completes it campaign at 3-6-1.
The Lobos, who were ranked first in the state in several preseason polls and held that spot through the first month, looked exactly like a No. 1 team this night, racking up 538 yards.
The Lobos will take a 9-1 ledger into the "second season" for the second straight year. The bi-district tilt will be in Lobo Stadium.
Pine Tree made the outcome as close to respectable as possible, thanks to the passing arm of quarterback Michael Brice, who completed 11 of 23 passes for 125 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown to Jimmy McMullen. Brice was just 1-of-5 for 11 yards in the first half when Longview was controlling virtually every play, offensively and defensively.
Brice used a bevy of receivers, including a tight end Jeff Skinner, wingback Derrick Hunt and Jim Graves, split end Jason Williams, tailback Rodney Jones and McMullen to peck away at the Longview defense.
Pine Tree finished with 190 total yards and 13 first downs after getting just 51 and three the first two quarters. Jones also scored a fourth-period touchdown, to go with a spectacular 91-yard kickoff after Longview's initial score early in the game.
But, oh, those Lobos.
Johnson was joined by fullback Clifford Powell and quarterback Eric Harris to form an almost unstoppable threesome.
Using gaping holes created by linemen Huey Blackmon, Darrin Brinkley, Peter Butler, James McCreary and Kevin Allums, Powell added 91 yards and two touchdowns, while Harris rushed for 63 and a touchdown, in addition to passing for 49 and another score, to Charles Smith. Reserve quarterback Scott Hill added an aerial strike to Alvernon Jones late in the third period. That was to be the Lobos' only second-half touchdown, although Jason Baird added a 24-yard field goal with 5:28 remaining.
The first half looked more like the springtime Lobo Relays. With Johnson leading the way, Longview scored every time it had the ball but once, and that almost went unnoticed.
Johnson fumbled on Longview's second possession at the Pirates 26 - it about the only thing he did wrong - but Pine Tree returned the favor on the ensuing play and Longview scored three plays later to take the lead for good.
Running at will, Johnson picked up 43 yards in the game's opening drive, which covered 63 yards and took eight plays and 3:29 to show the Lobos would not be denied on this night. Johnson scored on a pitch play around the right end and Baird added the extra point less than four minutes into the contest.
It was a sight of things to be. Methodical and impressive.
Only Jones' 91-yard kickoff return interrupted the Lobos' first half march.
Jones, Pine Tree's two-time 1,000-yarder, gathered in the ball at his nine and broke straight up the middle of the field, pulling away from a pair of would-be tacklers at his own 40. It was a footrace from there and Jones provided his own heroics to help tie the game for a few briefs moments. Michael Brice tacked on the extra point 13 seconds after Longview's touchdown.
Harris hit Smith with the go-ahead touchdown with 5:49 still showing on the first-period clock and the race was on.
Powell capped the next possession on the eight play of a 55-yard drive with a one-yard blast for a 21-7 first-quarter advantage. Johnson had a 23-yard scamper around the right side to eclipse the 100-yard mark, leaving him with 123 at the close of the quarter.
Powell capped an 86-yard march early in the second stanza with a four-yard carry. Johnson had actually scored four plays earlier, but a clipping penalty negated what would have been a 37-yard effort. Smith made a diving 19-yard cash to set up the score, while Harris had a nifty 46-yard keeper play early in the drive. Powell's second touchdown made it 28-7.
The Johnson carried a draw play 39 yards, eating his way through the Bucs secondary for a score with 1:50 remaining, and two plays later Glen Moore intercepted Brice to set up one final first-half score.
Using three timeouts and overcoming another 15-yard clipping penalty, Harris finally capped a six-play effort with a five-yard sweep to score with seven seconds left.