TYLER - Three big plays sent the Longview Lobos to an expected win over Pine Tree on Thursday, but only after the Pirates appeared poised to pull off the unexpected.
The plays sparked a 21-point second quarter, and the Lobos rolled to a 41-14 win at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium in the first Longview-Pine Tree game since 1987. Longview (8-2, 6-0 in District 13-4A) clinched its fifth consecutive undisputed district title and fifth straight perfect district season, a winning streak of 28 games.
Longview increased its edge in its all-time series with Pine Tree to 9-2, with the previous 10 games being played between 1978 and 1987. Pine Tree (2-7, 0-5) dropped its fifth consecutive game.
Control of the game turned on a trick play in the second quarter.
On a fourth-and-one at the Longview 17-yard line, a fake punt was called. Breaking two tackles in the backfield, Ladarrin Robertson broke free for a 23-yard gain.
The play continued a 92-yard drive, which included a 47-yard pass from Aaron Johnson to Cody Taylor and concluded with a four-yard touchdown run by Tyler McCray with 5:54 left in the second quarter for the game's first score.
The Lobos expanded their lead to 14-0 with 3:24 left in the first half when Lamarcus Howard used two sharp turns for a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown and Longview's second big play. Pine Tree struck back for its first score of the half as Matt Hamer found Terrance Sparkman for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 1:08 remaining in the half. Pine Tree had a 9-3 edge in first downs in the first half.
But one of Longview's first downs was the Lobos' third big play, sending them on a victory path. On the ensuing play from scrimmage, Fortson ran a double reverse 65 yards for a touchdown with 53 seconds left in the first half, giving Longview a 21-7 halftime lead. Fortson led Longview in rushing with 57 yards on two carries, adding two receptions for 59 yards.
Pine Tree controlled the tempo of the game in the first quarter, but got no points to show for it. Pine Tree marched 49 yards to the Longview 30-yard line on its first drive, chewing up 6:40 in time, but on a fourth-and-seven play, Keshun Allen couldn't hold on to a Tyler Kids pass and Chris Weaver made an interception for Longview.
Two plays later, Pine Tree's Adam Pruitt forced Johnson to fumble and Ryan Wallace recovered for the Pirates at the Longview 38-yard line. Pine Tree drove inside the Longview 10-yard line, but on a rushing attempt nearing paydirt, Pine Tree running back Benandre Wilson was stripped of the ball at the Longview two-yard line and Longview safety Addison McGee recovered the loose ball in the end zone for a touchback.
Pine Tree had one more chance to take command of the game as Fortson fumbled an end around and Pine Tree recovered at the Longview 16-yard line on the first play of the second quarter. However, the Pirates couldn't capitalize as a fourth-and-two play the Longview eight-yard line as a Kids pass to Ryan Kulak in the right corner of the end zone was too long and incomplete.
Longview iced the win with touchdowns on its first two drives in the second half. The first possession went 47 yards and ended on a seven-yard touchdown run by McCray, who rushed for 37 yards on nine carries. A forced fumble and recovery by McGee started a 90-yard drive that included a 50-yard pass from Johnson to Fortson and ended with a nine-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Oliver.
Demarcus Hart scored on an 18-yard run for Pine Tree, and the Lobos' Brunwyn Eldor hauled in a 33-yard scoring pass from Rayshone McGee in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
McGee finished a big defensive game with an interception in the fourth quarter. Melvin Templeton had three tackles for losses for Longview, including a sack. The Lobos overcame five turnovers, including losing four of five fumbles.
Hamer came off the bench to pass for a season high 123 yards for Pine Tree. Sparkman had four receptions for 68 yards, after making six receptions for 55 yards in Pine Tree's eight previous games.
Wilson led Pine Tree with 49 yards rushing on 13 carries. Kulak had three receptions for 47 yards for Pine Tree, while making an interception on defense, his fifth of this season.
Longview has an open date next week. Pine Tree concludes its 2008 season next Friday against Texas High in Texarkana.