|MARSHALL - Longview's Robert Bero had said Marshall would play like defending state champions.
And Marshall, nor Longview disappointed a cold-weathered crowd Friday night at Maverick Stadium. The defending 5A Big School state champion Mavericks concluded their reign at the Lobo 7-yard line as the clock expired for a heartstopping 20-15 Lobo victory.
The Lobos also snapped a 3-game losing streak to the Mavericks, where they had previously been outscored 90-9.
The loss also knocked Marshall under .500 for the first time since 1986 as it finished the year at 4-5-1. In the district play the Mavericks dropped to 1-3-1.
Longview improves to 8-2 and heads to a bi-district playoff game next Saturday at Pennington Field in Bedford. The Lobos also keep alive their hopes at the District 12-5A title at 4-1.
A loss by John Tyler this afternoon (2 p.m.) to Tyler Lee would give Longview its first championships since 1987. Both the Lions and Red Raiders have clinched postseason berths as well.
The Lobos' winning points came with 1:43 to play as quarterback Jason Dodson leaped into the end zone from a yard out. The 30-yard, 4-play drive was set up when punter Levin Fuller booted his attempted into the Marshall line, hitting Kevin Jones. Tra West recovered for Longview.
Marshall had earlier recovered a Lobo fumble on similar type play.
But quarterback Richard Hall, who completed 16 of 42 passes for 189 yards, directed the Mavericks through the air downfield. A pass interference call gave Marshall a first-and-goal at the seven. But three downs and the final 30 seconds of the game elapsed without them reaching pay dirt as the regular season expired.
Hall also had an interception in the second half and the Mavericks fumbled deep in Longview territory.
Leading 14-7, after a 6-yard touchdown run by Andre Davis, who rushed for 193 yards on 31 carries, with 8:19 to play, Longview appeared to be driving for a two-touchdown lead.
However, Maverick defensive back Roy Taylor stripped Davis at his own 19-yard line and raced 81 yards for the touchdown. Hall then completed a two-point conversion pass to Cedric Williams for a 15-14 lead with 5:20 showing.
Marshall had tied the game on a 4-yard run by Ron Turner with 9:50 to play in the third quarter. It also culminated a 66-yard, 9-play drive to open the second half.
Marshall won the toss, but deferred to the second half and the Lobos marched 59 yards in nine plays to put up the only score of the first half.
Dodson's 9-yard toss to Washington was their sixth touchdown connection of the season with 7:57 left in the quarter.
From the on it was a defensive battle, particularly from Longview's unit.
The Mavericks twice started series in Longview's end of the field and reached it on a another possession, only to be forced to punt twice and turn it back over on downs.
A 36-yard kickoff return by Brandon Walker set the Mavericks up at the 41. But the Lobos held, including a clutch 5-yard sack of Hall by LaMarcus Coyle.
It was Marshall's turn to play defense on Longview's next possession forcing a punt at their own 16.
Still the Mavericks, after a 10-yard pass from Hall to Williams, failed to convert a first down at the 31 as Coyle batted down Hall's pass on fourth-and-eight.
A 13-yard pass form Hall to Williams in the second quarter moved the Mavericks to Longview's 48. But the drive advanced no further than the 42.
Both defense kept each others quarterbacks in negative yardage. Dodson was sacked four times for a minus-32 yards, while Hall lost 17 under a heavy rush.
Longview's defense allowed Marshall only six yards on the ground, with Turner leading the way with 16 on eight carries.
The Lobos passing game had the most success with Dodson connecting on 6 of 8 attempts for 63 yards.