TYLER - Hurricane Gilbert cost Longview a date last week with Galveston Ball, but there was no reprieve for Tyler Lee as the Lobos rode the surge of Earnest Hunter in a 28-20 win here Friday night at Rose Stadium in both team's District 13-5A opener.
The win improves Longview's season slate to 2-1, 1-0 in district, while the Red Raiders suffered their first defeat of the year, falling to 2-1-1, 0-1.
The 5'10, 190-pound junior tailback rolled up 206 yards on 32 carries and tallied all four touchdowns for Longview. It was his first healthy performance since injuring a shoulder in the opener against North Mesquite.
Coming into the game, Hunter had accumulated only 67 yards on 21 carries. He also hadn't crossed the goal line, either. The touchdown total equaled his total output of last season.
"He just did an outstanding job. He ran about as well as I've ever seen him run," noted Longview boss Robert Bero. "He was bummed up some the last couple of weeks, but I think eh layoff helped get him healthy."
The offensive lien of guards Jeff Morris and George Shankle, tackles Andy Pierce and Scott Riddle, along with center Barry Lindsey played a big role in opening the holes for the rambling back.
The Lobos, who broke out to a 21-0 first half advantage, had the wind nearly taken out of their sails as Lee staged a second half rally. But Hunter finished off the Red Raiders, balling a 7-point lead to 14 with 2:10 left in the game.
A poor punt by Tyler Lee's Jimmy Clark gave the Lobos at the Red Raider 47. After two running plays by Hunter for 9 yards, the Red Raider defense forced Longview into a fourth-and-1 at the 38, after James Jones and Delfrey Brown stopped the junior workhorse for no gain.
But Longview just gave the ball right back to Hunter, who sprinted wide and raced down the right sideline for 38 yards, pushing him over the 200-yard limit. The effort was also personal beat - he totaled 160 as a Sophomore against Texas High.
Lee did come back to post a final score with 47 seconds remaining on a Shane Griffin to Tony Miller pass for 32 yards. But, Everett Johnson blocked Clark's point-after attempt.
The Red Raider second-half comeback was paced by tailback Warren Richardson, who after a slow start - two carries for 10 yards - produced 73 in the second half and one touchdown.
His 27-yard run with 11:04 left in the fourth quarter drew the host to within 9, 21-12. Lavoskas Amie then converted a 2-point conversion to further close the gap to 7.
Lee had put the first points on the scoreboard at the 3:50 mark of the third quarter on an 11-yard quarterback keeper by Griffin. The extra point, however, was wide to the right.
Griffin's 6 points was the first time Lee had penetrated the end zone in two year. The Lobos won last year's contest 10-3.
A 31-yard run by Richardson and a 15-yard personal foul on Longview contributed to Lee's scoring drive.
"I told our team at halftime that's an indication of what type of team we can be, but in the second half that's the kind of team we can be if we don't come out and get our heads screwed on right," Bero said. "But I'd rather be 1-0 in this district than 0-1. We got the first big one under our belt."