|LONGVIEW - It was the Earnest Hunter show Friday night at Lobo Stadium.
The senior tailback rushed for 243 yards on 22 carries and scored four touchdowns to lead the Longview Lobos to a rousing 42-14 victory over Tyler Lee in the District 13-5A opener for both teams.
Hunter scored on runs of 21, 23, 63 and 73 yards.
The win pushes Longview's season slate to 4-0, while Lee drops to 2-2. It was the most points Lee had given up against the Lobos since a 35-6 defeat in 1976.
However, after two quarters the outcome was in doubt.
If not for the power and quickness of Hunter in the first half, along with a couple of early Lee miscues, the Red Raiders had stymied Longview in the opening half as Lee trailed by a single touchdown, 21-14.
Two Hunter scores and 110 yards in rushing had given Longview the early advantage.
Lee started the second half having out gained Longview in total yards, 173-115, and in first downs 14-4.
To open the third quarter, both defenses held on each others opposing possessions. But on Longview's second series, Hunter marched the Lobos down to Lee's 36 yard line. However, Hunter fumbled and the Red Raiders took over.
But Longview's defense again rose to the occasion, holding Lee to four downs, and forced a punt.
It would only take the 5'10, 200-pound back one quick burst on a sweep down the right side, breaking a couple of tackles near midfield, to trigged the romp. He raced 73 yards to give Longview a two-touchdown advantage with 2:56 left in the third quarter.
One series later, quarterback Kevin Madden found split end Richard Murphy alone in the secondary for a 76-yard scoring strike. Murphy, a member of last spring's state championship mile-relay team, outran Lee defenders Rodney Smith and Jimmy Clark.
A 4-yard run by Todd Dauper with 1:45 to play in the game closed out the scoring. It was the third rushing touchdown of the season for the third-string tailback.
Lee fumbled on back-to-back series in the first 1:50 of the game with Hunter leading his team to a quick 14-0 advantage.
Facing a second down at their own 27, Gossett tossed a short pass to Sam Caldwell, who appeared to drop the ball, but the officials ruled it a fumble and middle linebacker Brian Chumley recovered for the Lobos.
A toss left to Hunter went for 21 yards and the touchdown with 52 seconds remaining in the contest. Dean Malone tacked on the point-after.
The Red Raiders would manage only two more plays from scrimmage before Warren Richardson coughed up the ball at Lee's 23. This coming after a 10-yard gain on an apparent first down.
Four plays later, on a fourth-and-one at the eight, Hunter took off up the middle of the Red Raider defense for six more points.
Lee, however, didn't fold and followed with a 15-play, 75-yard march as Darrik Ward crossed the goal line from 2 yards out with 1:21 left in the first quarter.
Hunter's third score of the night came with 8:50 remaining in the second frame as he scampered 63 yards.
The Red Raiders again answered behind a 15-play drive, this time for 82 yards when quarterback John Gossett dove across from 2 yards away. The drive, however, was nearly foiled when cornerback Selwyn Broughton dropped a sure interception four plays earlier at Longview's two.