Longview Rides Special Teams + Defense to 30-14 Win Over North Little Rock [VIDEO]
LONGVIEW -- Special teams and defense will win a lot of football games, and that's exactly what Longview got Friday night.
North Little Rock's Alabama-bound running back Altee Tenpenny had nowhere to run, and Longview's special teams delivered the knockout blow in a 30-14 bounce-back victory at Lobo Stadium that sets the Lobos on the right track after last week's disappointing defeat against Coppell.
Longview (1-1) held Tenpenny, a 5-11, 210-pound tailback rated by multiple recruiting resources as the top high school player in Arkansas, to 83 yards on 22 touches, 20 of which were rushes for 67 yards.
"They (Longview's defense) have heard enough about how poorly they've played the last two weeks, and they knew they were better than the way they've been performing," said Longview coach John King. "They came out and played well and came up with 16 points for us, which was big."
Longview's special teams changed the course of the game in the second quarter, then sealed the Lobo victory in the fourth.
Nakia Brown's 84-yard punt return touchdown turned the momentum and gave the Lobos a 7-6 lead with 6:21 left in the first half. Leading 21-14 late in the game, Corey Bartley blocked a punt deep in Wildcat territory, where teammate Jalen Porter picked up the ball at the 4-yard line and trotted in for a 28-14 advantage.
"That was fitting, wasn't it?" King said of the special teams' second- and fourth-quarter game-changers. "The defense played well. They've got an explosive offense. I thought our defense stepped up and answered the challenge."
Longview's special teams made another play on the ensuing kickoff when North Little Rock (1-1) fumbled the kickoff and the Lobos' Kentrell Smith recovered. Longview drove the ball inside the Wildcat 5-yard line before stalling out, but the Lobos got their final two points when linebacker Torean Sheppard and several of his teammates pulled North Little Rock's Aaron Adams down in the end zone for a safety and a 30-14 lead with less than a minute left.
King said Brown's punt return reset the tone on Longview's sideline, which came alive when the senior defensive back took it to the house.
"Huge, huge," King said of the return's impact. "It kinda got our sideline frenzied up, and the kids got excited."
Longview defensive end Jalen Porter had a sack, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and the four-yard blocked punt return for a touchdown. Sheppard was in on a couple of tackles for loss. Defensive back Travin Howard had an interception, and safety Stephan Maxey had a 50-yard fumble return touchdown negated by penalty.
Longview, which lost starting quarterback Bivins Caraway last week to a torn ACL in his left knee, didn't need to throw the ball much. The Lobos completed 3 of 11 passes for nine yards, but ran for 224 yards on 34 carries, led by Tory White's 19-carry, 104-yard performance. Fullback Antonius Sanders carried six times for 91 yards and two touchdowns, including a 65-yard highlight-reel run that saw Sanders stood up in a pile after a three-yard gain, only to bounce outside and outrun the North Little Rock defense for the score.
That touchdown put Longview ahead 21-6 with 9:06 in the third quarter.
"We did better tonight. (North Little Rock has) got some big ol' boys," King said. "They didn't have many negative plays against. We had some no-gainers and some one- or two-yard gains, but the negative plays we stayed away from for the most part."
Longview gained 53 yards on its first 11 carries, but really got going during the middle of the second quarter, when 6-3, 315-pound North Little Rock defensive tackle Kenny Howard left the game for a series with an injury. Longview gained 50 yards on five consecutive runs and Sanders scored from eight yards for a 14-6 advantage. From that point, the Lobos dictated play at the line of scrimmage.
"Who couldn't see him come out?" King joked about Howard. "Yeah, we tried to attack that position when he went out. Not many 315-pounders can play like that, so we tried to take advantage of him being out of the game. But he came back after four or five plays."
White has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of Longview's first two games.
"That guy's been a bruiser. He ran extremely hard. He's going to break a long run before it's over with," King said. "We've just got to get a little bit better on maintaining blocks. Hopefully that'll come."
Stephon Dunn started at quarterback. Dunn was 2-for-6 for three yards and an interception, while sophomore Dezmond Chumley was 1-for-4 for six yards.
"I thought we missed some throws we could've made," King said. "I know nerves were part of it. I thought (Dunn) did a good job of making the right read and keeping us out of bad situations most of the night."
Longview held North Little Rock to 285 total yards on 59 plays. Juan Day had 11 carries for 50 yards, and Payton Holmes was 8-for-12 for 91 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Adams was the game's top receiver with six catches for 58 yards.
North Little Rock's lone lead was 6-0 on Holmes' 34-yard first-quarter touchdown pass to Rodney Bryson. Longview's DeMarkus Lathan blocked the PAT.
Longview hosts rival Marshall at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Longview 30, North Little Rock 14
Lobo Stadium, Longview
N. Little Rock -- 6 0 8 0 -- 14
Longview 0 14 7 9 -- 30
NLR -- Rodney Bryson 34 pass from Payton Holmes (kick blocked) -- 1:48
LGV -- Nakia Brown 84 punt return (Gustavo Garcia kick) -- 6:21
LGV -- Antonius Sanders 8 run (Garcia kick) -- 3:49
LGV -- Sanders 65 run (Garcia kick) -- 9:06
NLR -- Evan Peters 8 pass from Heath Land (Bryson pass from Holmes) -- 3:47
LGV -- Jalen Porter 4 punt block return (Garcia kick) -- 4:46
LGV -- Safety -- 0:13
First downs 15 11
Rushes-Yards 41-153 34-224
Passing Yards 132 9
Comp.-Att.-Int. 12-18-1 3-11-1
Punts-Avg. 4-23.0 3-33.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-Yards 9-85 6-50
RUSHING -- North Little Rock: Altee Tenpenny 20-67, Juan Day 11-50, Payton Holmes 4-18, Rodney Bryson 3-14, Aaron Adams 2-5, Heath Land 1-(-1). Longview: Tory White 19-104, Antonius Sanders 6-91, L'Darrius Peterson 3-17, Dezmond Chumley 2-8, Ja'Mycal Hasty 1-5, Stephon Dunn 2-1, TEAM 1-(-2).
PASSING -- North Little Rock: Payton Holmes 8-12-1 91, Heath Land 4-6-0 41. Longview: Stephon Dunn 2-6-1 3, Dezmond Chumley 1-4-0 6.
RECEIVING -- North Little Rock: Aaron Adams 6-58, Altee Tenpenny 2-16, Rodney Bryson 1-34, Evan Peters 1-8, Gary Vines 1-8, Bailey Williams 1-8. Longview: Justinn Spady 2-9, Antonius Sanders 1-0.