|MARSHALL - Since 1968 the Marshall Mavericks seemed snake-bitten when playing Longview.
The snake is still biting.
Jimmy Smith reeled off a crucial 47-yard run late in the fourth quarter and Joe Brooks redeemed himself for an early miscue as the Lobos held off a Marshall rally to post a 14-7 victory here Friday night in Maverick Stadium.
The win, the Lobos' 18th straight over the Mavs, improved Longview to 6-1-1 on the season and 4-0-1 in District 13-5A play. The Lobos remain in a tie for the district lead with Lufkin, which defeated Tyler Lee Friday night.
Marshall drops to 3-5 and 1-4 with the loss.
Longview jumped out to a 14-0 advantage in the first half on the strength of Smith's one-yard run and a 25-yard scoring pass from Kirt Griffin to Rolanda Reese.
And the Lobos were in control throughout the second half, moving into Marshall territory on their first four possessions.
But the Longview offense continually shot itself in the foot with penalties to kill drives and keeping the Lobos from extending their lead.
Still it appeared Longview's failure to score wouldn't matter because Marshall's offense couldn't solve the Lobo defense. On their first three possessions of the second half the Mavs gained 19 yards and 15 of those came on Odell Beckham's run on the half first play.
Longview's defense, spear-headed by linebackers Warren Smith and Mark Saurette, who had two sacks, kept the Mavericks in check most of the night. Beckham, who rushed for 196 yards against John Tyler last week, managed just 76 on 17 carries.
But with just 4:05 left to play, Marshall quarterback Benny Valentine lofted a pass to Harold Survia, streaking down the sideline.
Brookins went for the interception, but the junior safety mistimed his leap and the ball sailed over his head and into the hands of Survia, who sprinted untouched into the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown.
Brandon Bates' kicked the extra point to cut Longview's lead to 14-7.
With the momentum going its way, Marshall appeared ready to make a move when a delay of game penalty gave Longview a third-and-nine at its own 34. The wet field played havoc with both teams' punters and the Mavericks looked like they would take over in good field position with a chance to end their 18-year jinx.
But Griffin handed off to Smith on the old Statue of Liberty play, which as probably an innovator when Longview last lost to Marshall and the fleet junior sprinted away from the Marshall defense and into the open field. Emid Roberts ran Smith down from behind at the Marshall 19-yard line.
The 47-yard scamper gave Smith 125 yards, his fourth consecutive 100-yard performance.
Longview moved to the Marshall 12 and on fourth-and-three, David Hill's 29-yard field goal attempt went wide left, giving the Mavericks one more chance.
Valentine hit Scott Ford for 19 yards on first down, but his next two passes fell incomplete.
On third down, Valentine, under a heavy rush, lofted a pass ford Ford, who appeared open at the Longview 40.
But Brookins raced in front of the Marshall receiver to steal the pass and clinch the victory.
Longview dominated the stats, rushing for 244 yards and holding the Mavs to just 50.
The key stat, however, was punting yardage. The kicking game betrayed the Mavericks and the Lobos benefitted greatly.
Mike Henslee's 10-yard punt midway through the first period set Longview up at the Marshall 43 and the Lobos quickly took advantage of the field position.
The Lobos called Smith's number seven consecutive plays and the senior running back capped the scoring driving with a one-yard plunge on fourth-and-goal with 4:01 showing.
Hill's kick made it 7-0.
Marshall's kicking game also set up Longview's second score. Henslee dropped back to punt from his own 46, but the wet ball slipped through his hands and ricocheted off his helmet.
The Mavericks' punter retrieved the ball, but was swarmed by the Longview line at the 33.
Smith gained eight yards on first down to the 25. Then Griffin looped a pass to Reese, who had beaten the Marshall secondary to the flat, for his seventh touchdown pass of the season.
Hill's extra point made it 14-0 with 3:40 left in the half.