|LONGVIEW - Much has been made of Longview's offensive weapons. But Friday night, the Lobos' best offense was their defense.
Longview's defensive unit, spearheaded by lineman Lonzell Williams, Terry Williams and Luther Turner, linebackers Jimmy Smith and Kenna Jones and cornerback Joe Brookins, forced six turnovers by Fort Worth Trimble Tech, set up a pair of point-blank touchdowns and accounted for another score in a 28-2 trashing of the defending District 6-5A champions at Lobo Stadium.
The victory raised Longview to 2-0 while Trimble Tech fell to 0-2.
"They got better. They showed improvement," Longview coach Doug Cox said of his team. "If our defense hadn't been playing so good early, we might have been tow or three touchdowns behind."
However, the Longview defense was excellent from the outset. In fact, Trimble Tech had only two first downs in the first half and both of those came on penalties.
The Lobos defense showed its teeth on the opening series when the visiting Bulldogs netted minus four yards o the first three plays.
Then on fourth down, Longview put enormous pressure on punter Darnell Reese and his kick traveled just back to the line of scrimmage where Jones caught it and returned that kick 10 yards to the 6-yard line.
Two plays later, Thomas Snoddy slammed into the end zone from five yards out with 9:28 showing. David Hill's extra point gave the Lobos a 7-0 advantage.
The remainder of the first period didn't get much better for Tech. Its longest play from scrimmage was a 29-yard run by quarterback Willie Robinson, but at least 15 of those yards came when he fumbled forward and Brookins recovered.
Tech got its only points on the first play of the second period when the snap from center sailed over punter Mike Bobo's head out of the end zone for a safety.
But again, Longview's defense came up with big plays to set up scoring opportunities.
Trimble Tech couldn't moved on its ensuing possession and was forced to punt. Warren Smith blocked the kick and Longview took over at the Bulldog 15.
However they could only get as close as the 9 and Hill missed wide right on a 26-yard field goal.
That only delayed Longview's next score, though.
Robinson hit Kevin Hood with a screen pass on third down, but a vicious hit from Jimmy Smith forced the Tech fullback to fumble and Brookins again claimed the bobble at the 26-yard line.
Snoddy, who rushed for 113 yards on 24 carries, picked up the necessary yardage for a score on seven consecutive carries. The senior blasted over from the 1-yard line with 3:52 left in the half. Hill's extra point made it 24-2.
But Longview wasn't finished.
With just over a minute remaining, the Bulldogs took over at the Longview 39 when Kirt Friffin was sacked by Larry Soloman and fumbled the ball away.
The miscue turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Two plays later, Robinson threw for Cedric Henton, but Brookins stepped in front at the 30 and raised 70 yards for the touchdown.
"I read the tight end rolling out," explained Brookins. "I just stepped in and picked it off. It felt great."
Hill tacked on the extra point for a 21-2 lead at intermission.
While Longview's defense was going full speed, it's offense appeared stuck in neutral. The Lobos seemingly would started a sustained drive only to self destruct. Twice Thomas Stauts fumbled. Another time Griffin just missed a wide-open Rolanda Reese. And if that wasn't enough, Longview was assessed 90 yards in penalties.
But the offense did show its preseason potential on a couple of occasions. Snoddy was brilliant with his hammering running style. And Griffin and Reese hooked up on a spectacular touchdown pass early in the fourth period.
Facing a fourth-and-10 at the Tech 40-yard line, Griffin stepped away from pressure and fired a strike to Reese, who out jumped a pair of defenders right at the goal line for the score with 9:07 left.
It was the second time Reese and Griffin had hooked up on a touchdown and both plays came on fourth down. Hill's extra point accounted for the rest of the scoring.
The Lobo defuse kept Tech in check the remainder of the game. Kenna Jones registered a sack, while David Henderson and Reese grabbed interceptions.