LONGVIEW - Longview expected a defensive battle from Ruston going into Friday night's final non-district game. The Bearcats hadn't given up a point all season, while outscoring the opposition 158-0.
The Lobos made a 24-yard field gaol from Eric Hargave and a 28-yard scoring pass from Trey Pierce to Fred Talley stand up as the No. 1-ranked Longview wrapped up its 1998 Homecoming activities with a 10-3 victory over Ruston.
"We knew they had a good defensive football team, and we know we have an outstanding football team," said Lobo head coach Robert Bero, whose team opens District 12-5A play next Friday at Lobo Stadium against Marshall. "Sometimes that's what it comes down to, your defense has to step up and play. Our defense played big...we expected to play that way and they did."
It was the Lobos' first outing since moving to the state's top spot in Class 5A this week. The Bearcats were ranked No. 10 in Louisiana's big school division.
Longview (4-0) put an end to Ruston's string of 16 consecutive scoreless quarters on its first series of the game.
The Lobos marched 67 yards in nine plays - the key play of the drive being a 55-yard toss from Pierce to Courtney Taylor on third-and-11.
A couple of short runs by Talley gave Longview a first-and-goal at the Bearcat 10-yard line. However, Ruston's defense held and Hargrave converted his second field goal of the season with 5:54 left in the opening quarter.
The Bearcats, who went through and out on their first series, reached near midfield on the second possession and crossed over to the Longview 42 on the third possession. On its fourth drive, Ruston drove to the Lobo two-yard line.
But on third-and-goal, Longview's Almarcus Williams came up the middle on a safety blitz to throw Jack Hunt for a 1-yard loss. The Bearcats (4-1) then settled for a Kenneth Seal 20-yard field goal at the 4:22 mark.
The Lobos quickly countered, driving 85 yards in nine plays. A clipping call on the kickoff pinned Longview back at its own 15.
But a pass interference call against Ruston got the Lobos out of hole on third-and-11 from the 14. Talley then carried for 21 yards, getting a key block from Pierce. A 6-yard carry from Taylor and Pierce's 10-yard keeper moved Longview into Bearcat territory.
Pierce then found Kevin Bishop for an 8-yard completion to the Ruston 28-yard line. Facing third-and-two, Pierce threw a screen pass on the left side to Talley, who cut back to the right after getting a block downfield from Herman Martin and then sprinted into the right corner of the end zone.
Hargrave tacked on the extra point for a 10-3 Lobo lead with 1:22 remaining before halftime.
"I kind of had a feeling I was going to open, because they were stunting the outside linebacker," said Tally, who had stretched his left Achilles' tendon two weeks ago against Duncanville. "The tackle (Jermaine Stanford) cut him down and I kind of hid behind him. And then when I turned around, he (Martin) threw a block."
Longview turned to its defense in the second half, getting a quarterback sack from William Morrison after the Bearcats had reached the Lobo 38. Tracy Brooks also recovered a fumble - Ruston's second of the game - at his own 21.
Talley showed he had recovered from his injury with an 87-yard sprint up the left sideline for a touchdown, only to see it called back on a holding penalty.
The Lobos were out gained 200-189 in total offense. Talley finished with 85 yards on 19 carries, while Pierce was 5-of-17 for 94 yards.