TYLER - John King blamed strength coach Jason Little for Damion Saddler being caught from behind as the junior defensive lineman returned a fumble 83 yards before being tackled at the John Tyler two-yard line.
One play later, Kris Thomas scored the first varsity touchdown of his career as he had come in to replace starter Vondrell McGee at tailback.
"We had to cancel the JV game (Thursday night)," King said. "We wanted to add depth. We've been kind of thin all year, and it's that time of year you start adding to that depth.
"I told (Saddler) he got caught from behind because he'd gone up to the weight room. Coach Little had a workout with him."
Saddler and Thomas were among a number of players who not only saw significant playing time in Friday's regular-season ending 48-14 win over John Tyler, but had scoring opportunities. Saddler scooped up a Lion fumble at the Longview 35, rumbling down field before a pair of JT players denied him the end zone.
Thomas came into the game having rushed for 40 yards on 13 carries. He finished with 78 yards on seven carries against John Tyler. The senior had replaced McGee, who rushed for 156 yards and scored once, with just under 7 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.
It was Thomas' 60-yard early in the fourth quarter that set up Arthur Jackson's first career touchdown. Jackson was filling in for both Chris Ivory and Adrian Brooks at fullback. Ivory and Brooks were suited out, but did not play because of minor injuries.
Jackson had rushed for 58 yards on 11 carries prior to Friday's game. The senior finished with only 15 yards on seven carries, but he converted on fourth-and-three to keep alive the Lobos' first scoring drive of the game. Jackson also had two receptions for 31 yards.
Another JV player, Torian Rodgers, carried once for three yards.
Senior receivers Carderick Anthony and James Pierce caught just one pass each, but both went for touchdowns. Anthony hauled in a 42-yard strike from Carlin Freeman, outleaping the defender at the goal line, and Pierce pulled down a leaping catch in the far right corner of the end zone for an 18-yard TD completion. Neither had caught a pass all season.
Sophomore D'Marcus Miles replaced Freeman at quarterback in the fourth quarter and directed two scoring drives.
"We talked about being the top defensive team in the district, and giving our offense the chance to score. But, that wasn't going to take precedent to getting all those kids a chance to get out there," King said.