|LONGVIEW - Tyler Lee's "Rambo" defense deserved a Purple Heart after Longview's Thomas Snoddy buttered it for 108 yards, but it was the Red Raiders' offense that was Missing In Action Friday night in Lobo Stadium as Longview registered a 14-3 victory.
As the cliches goes, the game wasn't as close as the score indicated. Longview, in its most impressive offensive showing of the season, churned out 225 yards rushing and limited the Raiders to just 149 yards total offense in improving its record to 2-2 on the year and 1-0 in District 13-AAAAA.
Lee, which won its first two gams, sagged to 2-2.
Longview's defense was remarkable in the first half, allowing Lee to come away with only three points after penetrating the Lobo 10-yard line three times.
In the second half it was Snoddy, who recorded the Lobos' first 100-yard game this year, punctuating a ball-control offensive attack that sealed the victory and ended Longview's two-game losing skid.
"They were just tremendous, a smiling Longview coach Doug Cox said of his defense. "I thought they played their best game of the season. They've played super before but this was the best.
"I'm so proud of (senior middle linebacker) Tommie Taylor. He had a sore leg, but you couldn't get him out with a crane."
Taylor, and the rest of the defense was definitely impressive, but it appeared the offense would play a starring role early.
Lee's defense call itself "Rambo" after Sylvester Stallone's movie character, but it was Longview's offense which drew first blood.
Spurred by a 14-yard run by quarterback Chris Cotton, a 21-yard dash by senior fullback Clyde Boyd and a 19-yards screen pass by Carl Johnson, the Lobos methodically marched 71 yards in eight plays to score on their first possession. Boyd, who had 68 yards on 11 tries, scored from the 9-yard line with 8:25 showing.
"The line executed real well," said Boyd. "I saw a good hole and went to it. I broke a tackle and went in."
However, Jason Baird's extra point attempt was no good and Longview led 6-0.
Now it was time for the Longview defense to take center stage.
Consecutive fumbles gave Lee possession deep in Longview territory, but both times the Raiders couldn't capitalize.
The first time linebacker Jimmy Bailey and tackle John Coss made key tackle to stop Lee at the 4-yard line and Mike Adams blocked Neil Brown's 21-yard field goal attempt.
After another fumble, Tyler Lee moved to the Longview seven before the drive stalled. On fourth down and the three yard line, Glenn Moore stopped quarterback Anthony Symes cold at the two to dodge yet another bullet.
Lee finally got on the scoreboard with 7:41 left in the half when Brown booted a 29-yard field goal. The key play was a 32-yard ramble by Clifton Coleman, who rushed for 80 yards on nine totes.
Longview, primarily sending Snoddy behind right guard Gavin Stahl and right tackle Kevin Alex, answered by moving from its own 24 to the Lee 4-yard line on 14 plays. But on third-and-three from the four, Johnson was stopped for no gain and Blake Erskine's 21-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Steven Conley.
Mike Taber picked up the loose ball and returned it 41 yards before Brad cox made a touchdown saving tackle at the Lobo 49. Again, Lee couldn't capitalize.
Longview moved to Lee's 22 on its first possession of the second half only to lose the ball on downs.
However, junior safety David Henderson picked off his fourth pass of the season three plays later and returned it 25 yards to the Raiders' 15.
Snoddy gained eight on first down and cut behind a smashing block by Undray Moore to get the final seven on the next play.
"It was our power sweep right," explained Snoddy. "I just saw the cut back there and went in."
David Henderson, at quarterback, fought off a slew of would be tacklers and powered into the end zone for the two-point conversion after a 14-3 lead with 7:15 remaining in the quarter.
Longview later moved to the Raider 20 before losing the ball on downs and Lee mounted a pair of mild threats.
The first was thwarted when Arthur Ervin fumbled and Donnie Childs claimed it at the Lobo 22.
The second try, late in the fourth quarter, ended when John Johnson and Coss sacked backup quarterback Chad Parker on successive plays and a pass on fourth-and-19 fell short.