|LONGVIEW - Take everything you've heard and read about Doug Cox's unimaginative, ultra-conservative offense and spike it into the nearest trash can. Sure, everyone knows Longview's scheme: Tailback right, tailback left, tailback up the middle.
But just seconds before halftime Cox proved Pine Tree's Maurice Cook isn't the only Longview coach with a few tricks up his sleeve.
The result was a 62-yard touchdown that led to a 7-3 victory Friday night in Lobo Stadium and clinched at least a tie for the District 13-AAAAA championship.
Longview improved to 6-0 in district and 7-2 on the season and clinched its seventh district title since Cox took over as head coach in 1974. It was John Tyler's first loss.
John Tyler had just taken a 3-0 lead on Victor Urieta's 20-yard field goal.
Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, Longview faced second-and-10 at its own 38 with less than 30 seconds remaining.
That's when John Tyler fell victim to the "Texarkana Special," a play Cox had planned to use against Texas High. Instead, he saved it for John Tyler and stunned the Lions and the capacity crowd celebrating Longview's homecoming.
Junior quarterback Kirt Griffin fired an overhand lateral to split end Glenn Moore. The ball bounced off the turf and into Moore's hands.
Moore then lofted a perfect pass to Brian Williams, who picked up a key block from Rolanda Reese and outran the John Tyler secondary into the end zone just five seconds before intermission.
It was the same play Texas A&M used to defeat Texas in 1967.
Jason Baird's PAT completed the scoring.
"I knew Brian would be open," said Moore. "I just looked up and threw it to him."
Said Williams: "We've been practicing it all year. Unie (Moore) put it right there and all I had to do was catch it. Rolando did a great job of blocking."
"We've had that play in our game plan and were planning to use it before the half when we needed a big play," said Cox. "We've worked on it once or twice the last five weeks just incase we needed it."
They needed it.
The rest of the contest was a series of clutch defensive plays by both teams. Williams and Moore were only two of several Longview heroes. Linebacker Jimmy Bailey, defensive end Donny Childs and safety David Henderson all turned in big plays to thwart potential John Tyler scoring drives.
Longview went to its basic power attack to begin the second half and junior Thomas Snoddy, who registered his second straight 100-yard game with 118, appeared ready to help the Lobos take a big lead.
Snoddy, running primarily behind right tackle Kevin Alex and right guard Gavin Stahl, carried on 10 of 12 plays as the Lobos advanced to the John Tyler 27.
But an illegal procedure penalty interrupted the march and the Lions killed the drive by throwing Longview for seven yards in losses in the next three plays.
Then, Longview's defense took over.
John Tyler's offense was rated No. 1 in 13-AAAAA and had outscored its opponents 139-16 in the first half.
But this time Longview's defense came up with the game-saving plays.
Quarterback Gary Jones moved the Lions to a first down at the Longview 13 late in the third quarter. But on first down Childs, playing with an injured right ankle, slanted into the backfield and drilled Jones for a loss of three.
Jones then scrambled for eight yards before an incomplete pass in the end zone set up fourth-and-five.
Jones rolled out left and dived for the first down marker when hit by Henderson and Moore. He was driven out of bounds a yard short.
"He did a quarterback blast keep and outran the defensive end," explained Moore. "I knew we stopped him."
John Tyler, however, came back. Jones intercepted Griffin at the 30 and returned it to the Longview 31.
But two plays later, Bailey snatched a Jones pass out of the sky to end the threat.
"I just dropped back and read his (Jones) eyes," said the linebacker. "He threw it straight to me. I froze. I tried to run but I couldn't."
John Tyler started its last effort at its own 49 following a Baird punt.
On first down, though, John Johnson threw Jones for a nine-yard loss - Longview's first sack. On third down, John Cross dropped Jones for another nine-yard loss.
The Lions attempted a hook-and-lateral on fourth-and-25 but Bailey and Tommie Taylor ran Columbus Clark out of bounds nine yards short of the first down.
Longview closes it season next week against rival Pine Tree.