TYLER - Sophomore Carlin Freeman put in a yeoman's performance in his first-ever varsity start as he threw for a pair of touchdowns and scored a two-point conversion to lead the Longview Lobos to a heart-stopping 22-21 victory Friday night over Tyler Lee here at Rose Stadium.
The game was in doubt until the final minute of play when Lee went for the two-point conversion and the win with 42 seconds remaining, only to see the ball sail out of the back of the end zone. However, James Pierce needed to fall on the subsequent onsides attempt by the Red Raiders for the Lobos to preserve the win.
Longview improves to 7-2 overall and 3-2 in District 11-5A. Lee, which had moved to No. 4 in this week's Associated Press poll, falls to 7-2 and 3-2. Both the Lobos and Red Raiders also split their two-game series for the second year in a row.
Freeman stepped in for the injured Quincy Grant, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL, and completed 7 of 16 passes for 187 yards. He connected twice with Malcolm Kelly for touchdown throws of 39 and 83 yards. The junior wide receiver finished with four receptions for 160 yards.
Jerrell Williams scored the Lobos' third touchdown on a 2-yard sweep to the left side for a 20-15 lead with 4:01 remaining in the game. Freeman then ran in the two-point conversion, which proved to be the final difference. Williams ran for 74 yards on 22 carries, with Freeman picking up 60 yards on nine rushes.
Lee, which trailed 7-3 at halftime, rallied for a 15-14 advantage on a Josh Hill to Brandon Pettigrew TD pass of 11 yards at the 9:03 mark of the third quarter. The Red Raiders, however, failed on the two-point conversion attempt - Lee would miss on all three two-point tries.
Hill came in to replace his younger brother Preston and led the Red Raiders to all three second-half scores. Josh Hill's 7-yard run with just 42 seconds to play drew Lee within one point at 22-21 after Longview failed to manage the clock, allowing the Red Raiders enough time to make a comeback.
After Hill's touchdown, Lee first sent out Austin Stanley to attempt the game-tying extra point. But, the Red Raiders called timeout, and Hill came back out with offense for the two-point conversion try. With a heavy rush, including 6-7 Tate Casey going both ways on defense, Hill's pass was hurried and the ball went out of the end zone.
Hill was 15 of 21 for 221 yards, although he was intercepted once and had a receiver lose the ball on a fumble. Freeman, meanwhile, was picked off just once, and the Lobos fumbled three times but recovered each one.
The Longview defense put up a stalwart effort against Lee's running game, holding the Red Raiders to just 58 yards. Ryan Howard successfully kicked both extra points for Longview and was able to keep Lee pinned deep on kickoffs.
Freeman was 6 of 11 for 104 yards in the first half, including a 39-yard strike to Kelly to give the Lobos a 7-3 halftime advantage.
The scoring drive took four plays to march 60 yards, with Freeman and Casey hooking up for 19 yards on first down to move into Lee territory. After two straight runs by Williams produced just two yards, Freeman avoided a hard run and hit Kelly running a post pattern for the six points with 5:49 showing in the second quarter.
Lee had scored on its opening possession as the Red Raiders put together a 10-play, 63-yard drive, finished off by a 29-yard field goal from Stanley. Lee was helped out by a pair of 35 yards in Longview penalties.
But Longview's defense rose to the occasion in the opening half, where he forced a turnover on a Corderro Hunter interception and made the Red Raiders punt the ball three times.
The Lobos close out the regular season next Friday at home against Lufkin, which knocked off John Tyler 15-7 at Abe Martin Stadium. The Red Raiders take on JT for the second time on Saturday. Game time is set for 2 p.m.