|TYLER - Time simply ran out for the Longview Lobos.
Despite a 21-point second half and Trey Pierce's career-high of 232 yards passing, Longview came up short, 31-28, in a comeback effort Saturday against Tyler Lee before 13,500 at Rose Stadium.
The Lobos, who trailed 17-0 after the first quarter and 24-7 at halftime, twice closed to within three of the Red Raiders in the fourth quarter.
In fact, Longview had possession at their own 12-yard line after a Lee fumble with 2:03 remaining on the game clock. However, the Lobos could muster only one first down before turning the ball over on downs with 19 seconds showing.
Lee, which came into the game ranked No. 9 in the state in Class 5A, then ran out the clock to improve to 3-0 in District 12-5A and 8-0 overall. Longview, which was ranked No. 5, falls to 1-2 and 5-2.
"You can't put yourself in a hole like we did against a good football team" said Lobo head coach Robert Bero. "We dug a deep hole to get out of in the second half.
"This team has shown a lot of heart and character, and they had to show that for us to play good football and come back against them in the second half. I thought we played a great second half, just came up short and time ran out on us."
The Lobos face a must-win game at home on Friday against John Tyler, which is tied for second place in the district race with Marshall at 2-1.
Pierce, who was only 4-of-13 for 65 yards in the first half and had thrown three interceptions, put up an aerial display over the final two quarters. He was 9-of-13 for 167 yards in the second half, which included a 35-yard touchdown strike to Kevin Bishop, and a 62-yarder to Jamie Brown to set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Fred Talley as Longview scored on consecutive possessions.
Brown was Pierce's main target, catching six passes for 135 yards and one touchdown. He and Pierce had hooked up for Longview's only score of the first half, hauling in a 38-yard pass. The 80-yard, six-play drive followed an interception by Lobo cornerback Bo White in the end zone as Jeff Hilliard tried to deliver an early knockout punch for Lee leading 17-0.
"We knew we could get Jamie past them, because they were in man coverage," said Pierce. "With good protection that the line was giving, it just made my job easier to throw it right to him. I also felt I owed the team something from the three interceptions that I threw at the beginning of the game."
Talley finished to just 84 yards on 24 carries, although he scored twice. His 1-yard plunge with 6:27 remaining, and Erik Hargrave's fourth extra point of the game cut a 10-point deficit back to three again.
The Lobos ate up nearly all of the clock in the third quarter. They took the opening kickoff and ran of 16 plays, which included a key fourth down conversion on fourth-and-one after Lee was penalized 15 yards for illegal substitution as Longview punted. Talley kept the drive alive, but it stalled at the Red Raider 15.
However, Lee turned the ball back over as Almarcus Williams forced a fumble and the Lobos recovered at the 45. A pass interference penalty - one of eight for 87 yards committed by the Red Raiders - advanced the ball 10 yards to the 35 and a fresh set of downs.
With 3:30 remaining in the frame, Pierce connected with Bishop in the left corner of the end zone.
Longview's defense then forced the Red Raiders to punt on the subsequent possession. A personal foul on the ensuing kickoff, which led tot he ejection of a Lee player, had pined it back at its own 12. Hilliard was then sacked by William Morrison at the four, and Alan Rodgers stopped Charles Rollins for a 3-yard loss.
Forced to punt, Shane Hudnall got off a 56-yarder to push the Lobos back to their 24.
But Pierce and Brown quickly hooked up for a pass play covering 62 yards down to the Lee 15. Three plays later, Talley scored and Longview was right back in the game at 24-21.
On the ensuing kickoff, Lee's Charles Rollins returned the ball to his own 40-yard line. John Porter picked up 15 yards into the Lobo territory for a first down. Hilliard, who was 12-of-27 for 200 yards, hit Hudnall for a 9-yard completion. But Longview was also flagged for hitting Hudnall out of bounds, drawing a 15-yard personal foul to the 13.
On fourth-and-three from the six, Hilliard, who was under a heavy rush, optioned to Porter for a 6-yard score and a 10-point margin with 10:13 to play.
Talley and Longview would answer again as the senior tailback picked up 30 of Longview's 80 yards in the ensuing drive. Walter Sharp also caught a 16-yard pass and Chris Jenkins ran for 12 yards as the Lobos moved inside the Lee 10. Talley finished off the final scoring drive three plays later.
Costly mistakes, a sputtering offense and the red-hot hand of Hilliard had staked the Red Raiders to a first-quarter 17-0 lead.
Hilliard threw for 132 yards in the first half, putting the Red Raiders on the scoreboard first in their opening drive as he tossed a 12-yard scoring pass to Blake Adkinson with 8:22 to play.
A Lee punt that was ruled by officials to have touched Talley, who was back deep to receive, rolled into the end zone and was recovered by Thomas Rollins for a Red Raider touchdown and q kick 14-0 advantage at the 4:48 mark.
Hudnail, who caught five passes for 99 yards, also kicked a 27-yard field goal with 1:02 still remaining in the first quarter.