|LONGVIEW - The showdown between the state-ranked teams never materialized as Longview routed Sulphur Springs, 45-0, before a full house at Lobo Stadium. Sulphur Springs was ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press' Class 4A state poll, but the Wildcats were never in the game, giving Longview linebacker Anthony Wiley and his fellow No. 6-ranked Lobos a win Wiley called satisfying.
"The rankings are nothing now," Wiley said.
Longview (5-1, 2-0 in District 13-4A) extended its winning streak in district games to 30. Sulphur Springs (5-1, 1-1) had a 14-game winning streak, which included winning the Class 4A Division II state title last year, snapped.
Longview rolled to 521 total yards of offense, which was even more impressive because Longview's top two tailbacks didn't play. Tyler McCray and Da'Cedric Hunt were in uniform, but Longview coach John King said they didn't play because of disciplinary reasons. King said they will return to the lineup for next Friday's game at Mount Pleasant.
Quarterback Aaron Johnson as well as reserve running backs Dakota Anthony and Keylon Shaw more than filled the void. Johnson rushed for 127 yards on eight first-half carries and accounted for three touchdowns. Anthony rushed for 112 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns while Shaw had 82 yards rushing on nine carries.
"We used different ways to get the ball to Aaron Johnson," King said. "We can be a really good football team when everything is working."
Sulphur Springs averaged 34.4 points per game coming in, but the Lobos limited the Wildcats to 212 total yards. King said his team adjusted its defensive lineup to get more speed.
"We went to the left side of the line and put on more pressure with our linebackers," said Wiley, who three tackles for losses with a sack. "This is satisfying, but we can do better."
Longview's set the offensive tempo from the start. The Lobos needed just 1:38 to move 66 yards on its first drive, capped by a 28-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Carey Fortson with 10:18 remaining in the first quarter.
Sulphur Springs quarterback Colton Lee had a 33-yard run on the Wildcats' first play from scrimmage, but that play was the longest the Wildcats ran all game and the Wildcats were held to 91 total yards in the first half.
Sulphur Springs had a chance to change the momentum of the game when Chad Evans intercepted a Johnson pass and returned it 28 yards to the 41-yard line with 2:14 left in the first quarter, but the Lobos forced the Wildcats to give up the ball of downs after Chris Weaver forced Lee to throw an incompletion on a fourth-down play.
Johnson took over in the second quarter. The Lobos responded with a 65-yard drive, capped by a 19-yard touchdown scramble with 9:05 left in the second quarter by Johnson, who made a Sulphur Springs linebacker miss on a tackle attempt. The drive was extended on a fourth-and-one play at the Longview 44-yard line when LaDarrin Robertson ran 22 yards on a fake punt attempt.
Johnson made three tacklers miss on Longview's next drive on a 62-yard option run, which set up a three-yard touchdown run by Anthony with 5:53 left in the first quarter. Johnson made another two Sulphur Springs defenders miss on a 29-yard touchdown run with 2:40 left in the first quarter. Shaw had 71 yards rushing on eight carries in the first half while Anthony had 42 yards rushing on eight carries. Longview had 371 total yards in the first half.
A 24-yard touchdown run by Montario Harris gave Longview a 42-0 lead with 7:50 left in the third quarter. After Harris' touchdown, the rest of the game was played with a running clock. Kyle Jenkins was 6-for-6 on extra-point kicks and added a 31-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Longview had seven tackles for losses - including two by Addison McGee.