|LONGVIEW - Longview helped make the playoff picture in District 13-5A a little clearer with 35-8 win over John Tyler Friday night at Lobo Stadium.
A win over Pine Tree next week would not only earn the Lobos a fifth consecutive post-season berth, but cop the district crown as well.
However, a loss would also keep the Lobos out of the playoffs, if Lufkin defeats Nacogdoches.
John Tyler threatened to make a ballgame of it several times, but turnovers and penalties killed several drives.
The last Lions' threat came with Longview leading 21-7. A high snap over punt Steve Allgood's head results in a safety as Allgood managed to fall on the ball in the end zone with 9:16 to play in the third quarter.
After the ensuing kickoff from the Lobos' 20-yard line, the Lions marched 47 yards in 4 plays with Marvin Ross scoring the touchdown at the 7:35 mark. Longview blocked the extra point, but John Tyler had crept to within 13.
John Tyler's defense then held Longview's offense to five plays before an Allgood punt gave the Lions the ball back at their own 25. Nine plays later, John Tyler had reached the Lobos' 20 and on a third-and-nine play, Warren Smith turned the tide with an interception, John Tyler's third of the game.
The first came on a 1-yard run by Ray Allison, who topped 103 yards on 18 carries for the night, and the second on a 13-yard sprint by Tony Blankenship with 2:22 to play in the game.
"I think they're coming on. I think they gelled as a team and they've got to the point now where they've put their team ahead of themselves," noted a jubilant Lobo coach Doug Cox.
"They're still some rough edges, but we didn't have those you won't need to practice. We're just going to keep getting better, I think.
"I was a little concern when we came out in the second half and they got that safety. And bang, came right back and got the touchdown. I thought, golly, we've awakened a sleeping giant. But when our kids came right back and put that other in (third touchdown) and I knew we were alright," Cox said.
Any chance of a Longview letdown was quickly silenced as the Lobos grabbed a 21-0 lead heading into the dressing room at halftime.
Longview used a trick play, a John Tyler fumble and a blocked punt to go up on top in the first half.
"Boy, that was an early gift (the Lions early mistakes). Although we made it happen," Cox noted.
With 5:20 gone in the first quarter, the Lobos had it already posted two quick scores. The speciality teams gave Longview its first break.
With the ball at their own 23, Barry Morgan's punt on fourth down was blocked and Longview recovered at the John Tyler six. Three plays later Bobo scampered around right side for 10 yards and the score. Allgood tacked on the extra point.
It didn't take the Lobos long to get the ball back. On the ensuing kickoff, Charles Rose was hit at the 20, forcing a fumble and Longview's Avery Edwards came away with it.
It took seven plays before Bobo snuck in from the one. With Allgood's second extra point, Longview led 14-0.
The third came with just 19 seconds left in the second quarter off a Statue of Liberty play with Faggett racing 43 yards.
Turnovers and penalties definitely hurt John Tyler.
The Lions managed to reach Longview's 20-yard line before Pullins lost the handle and Calvin Jackson recovered for the Lobos with 4:20 to play in the opening quarter.
Early in the second quarter John Tyler reached the Lobos' 42, but a succession of penalties totaling 40 yards turned the Lions back.
In the first half John Tyler fumbled twice and threw two interceptions, while Longview lost the handle only once.
Longview amassed 253 yards total offense, 228 of it coming on the ground. And it was Allison who carried the brunt of it for his highest output of the season. His fourth-quarter touchdown was his 11th of the season.
"I was just so proud of him," Cox said of Allison's performance. "Both of our tailbacks (Earnest Hunter and Carl Johnson) had ankle problems and he (Allison) took up the slack. Shoot, he runs with his heart.
"He's been playing like that all year. He's just amazing."
In addition to Smith's interception, Joe Brookins recorded two and Anthony Jimerson nabbed his fourth of the season. The Lobos also recovered three Lion fumbles in all.
The Lobos improve to 7-2 on the year, 5-1 in district, and close the regular season against crosstown rival Pine Tree.