|LONGVIEW - Hallsville's football team can take pride in its 21-7 loss to Longview on Friday at Lobo Stadium. Unlike the rest of District 13-4A, the Bobcats were not dominated by the Lobos.
In fact, the outcome of the game was in doubt until 7:46 left in the game, when Tyler McCray broke away for a 40-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-one play. McCray could be considered Longview's catalyst. The junior running back rushed for 160 yards and 13 carries and two touchdowns.
McCray also ensured the win for Longview (7-2, 5-0) - ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press' Class 4A state poll - which accomplished several milestones.
The Lobos clinched a playoff berth for their eighth consecutive year, won their 24th consecutive home game (not counting a September forfeit loss to Shreveport Evangel Christian) and completed their fifth consecutive undefeated home schedule. The Lobos have not lost a home game since John King took over as head coach in 2004.
Yet the Lobos encountered a stubborn sense from Hallsville (5-3, 2-2) they hadn't had to deal with previously in 13-4A. Hallsville held Longview to its lowest point total and its closest victory margin in district play this season.
A.J. Jones was the primary reason the Bobcats didn't back down. Jones rushed for 156 yards on 32 carries, the most an opposing player has rushed for against the Lobos this season. Jones had Hallsville's lone touchdown on a six-yard run with 10:46 remaining to cut Longview's lead to 14-7.
Hallsville's attempt to rally late were foiled by two turnovers. Branson Rogers forced a fumble by Hallsville receiver Tristin Crayton, which Jazz Reeves recovered at the Hallsville 30-yard line with 5:33 remaining.
The Bobcats stayed alive when Lucas Mock intercepted a pass by Longview quarterback Aaron Johnson in the end zone with 3:19 remaining, but on the next play Joseph Patillo picked off a pass by Hallsville quarterback Tom Lee Hutchinson. It was the first time Hutchinson has been intercepted this season.
Hallsville kept the game close in the first half because of Jones' hard running. While the Bobcats did not threaten to score most of the half, Jones kept the ball away from the Longview offense by rushing for 89 yards on 18 carries.
McCray had a 58-yard touchdown run in the last minute of the first quarter erased because of a holding penalty. McCray would eventually get a touchdown on a five-yard run with 2:29 left in the second quarter to help give Longview a 7-0 halftime lead.
McCray's touchdown capped an 11-play, 70-yard drive which was extended when Johnson recovered a fumble by Keylon Shaw and advanced it to the Hallsville 12-yard line. McCray had 50 yards on six carries in the first half.
Hallsville had its first serious scoring threat at the end of the first half, but a 46-yard field goal attempt by Casey Lightle was short. The Lobos created a cushion when Johnson scored on a 15-yard touchdown run with 4:57 left in the third quarter, capping a 72-yard drive.
Longview defensive end Jeremiah Farley had two tackles for losses. Longview standout nose guard Bubba Vactor did not play because of an injured shoulder. Dadrian Johnson had a fumble recovery for Hallsville.
D'Mio Ingram was Longview's team captain. A senior running back, Ingram suffered a spinal-cord injury during spring practice in May. Ingram stopped breathing and was paralyzed briefly when he suffered the injury, but has since recovered to walk normally.
Longview concludes its regular season playing Pine Tree on Thursday in Tyler. Hallsville hosts Texas High next Friday.