|LONGVIEW - In a battle of kickers, Abilene's Melvin Davis scored a 1-0 victory over Longview's Jason Baird. The end result was a 3-0 Eagle victory in a defensive struggle Friday night at Lobo Stadium.
Davis, who earlier missed a 41-yard attempt when the ball bounced off the crossbar, redeemed himself by connecting on a 35-yarder with 1:30 remaining to account for all the scoring.
However, as in last week's 21-17 loss to Fort Worth Trimble Tech, Longview rallied into scoring position late in the game. And like last week, the Lobos couldn't get the points.
Baird's 44-yard attempt with 10 seconds remaining fell short giving Abilene its third win of the year against no losses. Longview fell to 1-2.
Both Abilene and Longview had their chances to score earlier, but neither could penetrate the opponent's defense.
Longview's scoring opportunities were thwarted when Baird also missed attempts from 42 (partially blocked) and 35 (wide-left) and quarterback Chris Cotton was sacked for an 11-yard loss on third-and-10 from the Abilene 25 in the second quarter.
Abilene misfired when a bad snap killed a field goal attempt from the Longview 5-yard line, a drive was stopped at the Longview 33 and Davis' 41-yard field goal try with 17 seconds left in the third quarter just missed.
Both defense were outstanding.
Longview was limited to a mere 105 yards rushing and 68 passing, while Abilene managed 132 on the ground and 116 in the air.
"This was a tough one. I thought we played hard," said a dejected Lobo coach Doug Cox. "The defense played super. I want to watch the film. We just didn't block well and didn't move. When we'd get something going we'd bog down."
Abilene, which defeated Sweetwater, then ranked No. 2 in Class AAAA, 18-0 last week, started out strong when Gerald Bailey returned the opening kickoff 72 yards to the Longview 24.
After a holding penalty, Bailey reeled in a 22-yard pass from quarterback Michael Keith for a first-and-goal at the nine.
But the Lobo defense, spearheaded by senior middle linebacker Tommie Taylor, stiffened. On third-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Taylor and John Coss swarmed George McFarland for a loss of two.
On the ensuing field goal try Keith couldn't find the handle on the snap and completed a pass for a loss of four yards.
Abilene mounted another threat midway through the second quarter when a pass interference call put the Eagles at the Longview 35.
Taylor, though, led a defensive charge that allowed Abilene two yards on the first two plays and then two incomplete passes.
The Lobo offense looked impressive to open the second half, driving to the Abilene 22. The big play was a 24-yard strike from Cotton to split end Brian Williams.
On fourth-and-two at the 21, Taylor caught a pass for an apparent first down, but an illegal procedure penalty wiped out the lay and Baird trie to salvage a 42-yard field goal, which was partially blocked.
After Coss and John Johnson held Keith for no gain on fourth-and-one at the Abilene 35, the Lobos were in good position.
Cotton gained 10 to the 25, but two plays later was sacked by Terrance Stevenson and Doug Ice back to the 36 forcing a punt.
Aided by Keith's 27 yard completion to Derek Hood, the Eagles moved to Longview's 24 to set up Davis' try that hit the crossbar.
Longview responded by driving to the Abilene 24 in 10 plays. The drive stalled at the 20, though, and Baird's 37-yard try was wide.
The Lobos seemingly got a break when Junior Bell rambled for a 34-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but a clipping penalty brought the play back.
However, Hood gathered in a pass for 17 yards giving Davis another shot at three points. This time he split the uprights.
Johnson was the game's leading rusher with 77 yards on 18 carries. Senior fullback Clyde Boyd chipped in 35 yards on nine trips.
Abilene's top ground produced was Junior Bell, who had 48 yards on 17 attempts, while McFarland added 45 on 13.
The Eagles were led offensively by Keith, who completed 10 of 21 aerials for 116 yards. Hood grabbed six passes for 78 yards.
Longview, which has never lost two non-district games under Cox, opens 13-AAAAA competition at home next week against Tyler Lee, which is 2-1 after losing to Dallas Bryan Adams.