|LONGVIEW - In a quarter's worth of time, the Longview Lobo defense played its worst on Friday. In a quarter and change worth of time later, the Lobos more than made up for it.
The Lobos forced five turnovers from Marshall in the first 12 minutes and 39 seconds of the second half, and No. 3-ranked Longview took advantage for 24 points to run away with a 47-30 victory.
Chris Weaver started the turnover parade by recovering a fumble on the second play from scrimmage in the second half at the Marshall 29-yard line. This set up a 17-yard touchdown run by Keylon Shaw with 10:36 left in the third quarter, giving Longview a 30-22 lead. Shaw rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
The most exciting of the turnovers was LaDarius Brooks intercepting a deflected Brandon Fitzgerald pass and returning it 32 yards to the Marshall 23-yard line. This set up a two-yard touchdown run by Tyler McCray with 6:31 left in the third quarter. Brooks finished with two interceptions.
Addison McGee made an interception for Longview, which set up a nine-yard touchdown run by Shaw with 10:41 left, giving Longview a 47-22 lead and ending the competitive stage of the game. Marshall 22 of its points in the second quarter.
"We stopped blowing assignments in our pass defense," Longview coach John King said. "We gave them different looks in the running game, and stopped their cutback runs."
The win clinches a playoff berth for Longview (7-1, 4-0 in District 13-4A), the ninth straight season Longview has qualified for the postseason. It was also Longview's ninth straight win over Marshall (4-3, 2-1).
Longview jumped to a 14-0 lead before Marshall touched the ball.
Marshall attempted an onside kick to open the game, but Logan Washington pounced on the ball for the Lobos. A 33-yard pass from Aaron Johnson to William Johnson set up an eight-yard touchdown run by McCray with 11:27 left in the first quarter.
Longview's ensuing kickoff was a pooch kick and Longview's Addison McGee caught the ball in flight at the Marshall 40-yard line. Four plays later, Rayshone McGee ran in from 11 yards out to give Longview a 14-0 lead.
Longview expanded its lead to 20-0 on the first play of the second quarter with a 16-yard touchdown run by Da'Cedric Hunt. The PAT failed.
Most of the rest of the second quarter however belonged to Marshall. The Mavericks countered with a 64-yard drive, ending with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Fitzgerald to Demarques Sadler.
Marshall forced Longview to punt on its next drive. On the punt attempt, the snap to punter Chase Reed was too high.
Reed attempted to run with the ball when he retrieved it, but Marshall's Samuel Oney forced Reed to fumble and Jonathon Bray recovered for Marshall at the Longview 15-yard line. This set up a 12-yard touchdown pass from Fitzgerald to Bryce French with 9:13 left in the second quarter, cutting Longview's lead to 20-14. Reed had to be helped off the field and did not return to the game.
A 44-yard run by Shaw set up a 20-yard field goal by Kyle Jenkins with 2:21 left in the second quarter to give the Lobos a 23-14 lead. A 45-yard kickoff return by Dominique Thomas helped set up an 18-yard touchdown pass from Fitzgerald to Sadler with 18 seconds remaining in the first half.
Marshall went for two points and converted on a pass from Fitzgerald to Kenneth Bennett to cut Longview's lead to 23-22 at halftime. Marshall's 22 points were the most a Longview had allowed in a half since Lake Travis scored 28 in the first half of last year's Class 4A Division I state championship game, a 48-23 Lake Travis victory.
Shaw had 76 yards rushing on five carries in the first half while McCray had 64 yards on 10 carries. McCray finished with 99 yards on 13 carries.
Fitzgerald was 7-for-14 for 75 yards in the first half while Jonathan Haigwood had 57 yards rushing on six carries. Fitzgerald finished 15-for-26 for 147 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Haigwood finished with 80 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Longview visits Hallsville next Friday while Marshall hosts Texas High.