|LONGVIEW - Pat Collins doesn't believe in luck. Willie Andrews' 93-yard touchdown reception from Joel Armstrong with no time left on the clock was exactly the way the Longview Lobo coach called in the play from the sidelines.
Superstition aside, the pass lifted the Lobos to a 27-24 stunning come-from-behind win Friday night over Lake Highlands in Longview's home opener at Lobo Stadium.
"I couldn't see the end of the play because the players all ran out on the field in front of me," said Collins who collected his first win as Lobo head coach. "He (Andrews) broke loose - that was great strength - and Joel knew where to throw it.
"I told them (in the locker room) there was one thing I don't believe in, and that's luck. I've won too many football games like this, and I've lost too many. I think what it is, is everything you do out there during the week preparing yourself.
"The defense stopped them and we got the ball back. The offensive line protected the quarterback, Joel threw the ball and Willie caught the ball. They (Lake Highlands) had an opportunity to put five or six defensive backs in."
Call it what you will, but the game's final play certainly electrified those fans remaining at Lobo Stadium. It sent many scurrying back toward their seats.
"Don't ever leave too early," Collins roared with delight from the press box to the del-wishers in the stands after the ballgame.
Armstrong threw the ball near his own end zone on third-and-nine from the seven. The Lobo Sophomore took the snap with four seconds showing on the game clock.
Andrews was on the left sideline, and caught the ball off a deflection from Lake Highlands' cornerback stephen Hodge, who leaped in an attempt to make an interception. Hodge then tried to make the tackle, but Andrews briefly stumbled and then raced into the end zone that set off a wild celebration on the field.
Armstrong finished by completing 9 of 13 passes for 192 yards, while Andrews caught six passes for 140 yards.
"Defensively, we began to come apart a little bit in the second half," Collins said, "because we were having injuries, and we were having to put inexperienced people into those positions. They've been running that wishbone for so long. But we found a way right there at the end to be able to put them in a fourth-down situation, where they had to punt the football."
Longview got the chance to pull off the win by forcing the Wildcats to punt on fourth-and-four from the Lobo 36.
Lake Highlands, after trailing 14-0 in the first half, rallied to take a 24-14 lead with 6:07 remaining in the contest. Artillious Allison scored his third touchdown of the game on a 5-yard run at the 3:14 mark to close the gap to three.
The Wildcats scored 24 unanswered points as Matt Mildren hit Atwell West with a 9-yard pass right before halftime, which ironically bounced off a Longview defender into his hands. Mildren, who rushed for 102 yards on 30 carries, then scored on an 8-yard run in the third quarter.
J.J. Johnson, who led all rusher with 197 yards on 26 carries, put Lake Highlands into the lead with a 4-yard romp at the 9:16 mark of the fourth quarter. Taylor Bars added a 23-yard field goal. A Lobo fumble and an interception helped set up both the Wildcats' scores in the final frame.
Two Lake Highlands' fumbles led to Longview touchdowns early in the game. Armstrong threw an 11-yard scoring toss to Allison at the 5:54 mark of the first quarter, and Allison turned the second miscue into a 3-yard touchdown run in the second stanza.