Longview Falls in Heartbreaking Fashion, 28-26, in State Semifinals
ALLEN -- Longview did almost everything it needed to secure its first state championship game appearance in nine years.
Chris Kessler missed two potential go-ahead field goals inside the game's final four minutes, and the Lobos dropped a 28-26 heartbreaker to Waco Midway in the Class 6A Division II semifinals on a cold and rainy Saturday night at Eagle Stadium.
The final attempt was from 29 yards, and was inches outside the left upright, with three seconds remaining.
“Waco Midway is a good football team," said Longview coach John King. "Congratulations to them, they earned the victory, they’re going on to the state championship game. But I’m proud of our team, our coaches and what they’ve meant to Lobo football.”
Midway (15-0) will meet Cy Fair for the championship at 7 p.m. next Saturday from AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The game appeared to be finished when Matthew Barnhill intercepted Longview quarterback Haynes King with 1:05 remaining, but Midway quarterback Tanner Mordecai fumbled it back to Longview at his own 39 on the very next snap.
“Even when we threw the pick, I thought ‘heck we might get one last shot,'" Coach King said. "And we did. I didn’t know we’d get a fumble like that, but we had a shot."
Longview running back Keilyn Williams' 21-yard run down to the Midway 9 with 37 seconds to play got the Lobos in position to win it.
But Williams was stuffed on first down, and Longview took the clock down to seven seconds.
"It shouldn’t have come down to the last kick that we had, we had chances to make plays. It’s not all on one kid," Coach King said.
Longview's defense did its part by forcing four Midway turnovers, including three from Mordecai, who is committed to Oklahoma.
His second interception came in the Longview end zone courtesy of Roshodrick Harmon, and the Lobos moved the ball deep into Midway territory, but Kessler missed a 42-yard field goal try with 4:04 to play.
Longview then forced a three-and-out, but Haynes King was intercepted on third down.
Midway took control of the game with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns.
Fullbright scored from one yard after Longview's fake punt attempt went awry on its first possession of the second half.
Midway then recovered a Longview fumble at the Lobos' 39. Mordecai's 5-yard touchdown run pushed the Panthers' lead to 28-13 with 5:46 remaining in the third quarter.
But Longview had a big response from an unlikely source.
Williams took the pitch from quarterback and delivered a perfect strike to A'Darius Carter for a 27-yard touchdown, cutting Midway's lead to 28-20 with 4:20 to play in the third.
“We were down two scores and I just told our offensive coordinator Chris Vallery, ‘we’ve gotta find a way to get a score and get back within striking distance.’ And we did," Coach King said.
Later in the quarter, Longview's Jephaniah Lister blocked a Midway punt, setting up Haynes King's 16-yard touchdown pass to Jaylin Brown. But the two-point conversion was unsuccessful, leaving the Lobos down 28-26 with 11:52 remaining in the game.
Haynes King finished with 187 yards passing on 15 of 32 completions, and Williams had 128 yards rushing for Longview.
Carter caught six passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns, while Brown had four catches for 63 yards.
“We finally settled in and drew a bead I guess, and we ran the ball a little bit better, and we needed to," Coach King said. "We knew it was going to be difficult to just drop back and throw the ball on them. Their defense is really good. My gut feeling tells me the state championship game was played here tonight.”
Mordecai passed for 199 yards and a touchdown, while Fullbright ran 21 times for 137 yards and a score for Midway.
Longview drew first blood when the snap went over the Midway's punter head and out of the back of the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 Lobos lead with 4:21 remaining in the opening quarter.
Midway took a 7-2 lead on Mordecai's 18-yard scoring toss to CJ Williams, before Longview reeled off 11 consecutive points on Kessler's 30-yard field goal and Haynes King's 9-yard touchdown pass to Carter for a 13-7 lead.
The Panthers scored just before halftime on a Mordecai 1-yard run as Midway went into the break with a 14-13 lead.
“Everybody sells our kids short, but ain’t nobody gonna play harder," Coach King said. "We didn’t win it on the scoreboard but our kids left it on the field.”
Waco Midway 28, Longview 26
Class 6A Division II
At Eagle Stadium, Allen
Longview 2 11 7 6 -- 26
Midway 0 14 14 0 -- 28
LON--Safety, snap through the end zone, 4:21.
MID--CJ Williams 18 pass from Tanner Mordecai (Dylan Benites kick), 11:09.
LON--FG Chris Kessler 30, 5:50.
LON--A'Darius Carter 9 pass from Haynes King (Keilyn Williams pass from King), 1:37.
MID--Mordecai 1 run (Benites kick), :27.
MID--James Fullbright 1 run (Benites kick), 8:39.
MID--Mordecai 5 run (Benites kick), 5:46.
LON--Carter 27 pass from Williams (Kessler kick), 4:20.
LON--Jaylin Brown 16 pass from King (pass failed), 11:52.
First Downs 19 19
Total Yards 386 390
Rushes-Yards 38-172 40-191
Passing Yards 214 199
Comp.-Att.-Int. 16-34-1 16-30-2
Punts-Avg. 1-47.0 1-46.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 4-2
Penalties-Yards 6-44 6-45
RUSHING--Longview, Keilyn Williams 22-128, Jaquan Edwards 8-26, Haynes King 4-13, Paul Hutchins 2-5, Jessie Anderson 2-0. Midway, James Fullbright 21-137, Tanner Mordecai 18-62, Team 1-(-8).
PASSING--Longview, 15-32-1--187, Wiliams 1-1-0--27, Chris Kessler 0-1-0--0. Midway, Mordecai 16-30-2--199.
RECEIVING--Longview, A'Darius Carter 6-78, Jaylin Brown 4-63, Kamden Perry 3-51, Williams 2-14, Edwards 1-8. Midway, CJ Williams 6-99, Demarcus Degrate 4-49, D'Ante Thomas 4-32, Fullbright 2-19.