Longview Powers Past Lufkin in Second Half + Advances to Second Round
TYLER -- Longview smelled blood in the water, and put an end to rival Lufkin's season with a dominant second-half performance in Friday night's Class 5A Division I, Region II bi-district playoff.
The Lobos forced five turnovers -- three after halftime -- and scored 21 unanswered points in their 31-10 defeat of Lufkin, which played the majority of the game's final two quarters without injured starting quarterback Kordell Rodgers.
Longview advanced to the area round for the 10th consecutive season. The Lobos (9-2) will meet Mansfield Summit (10-1) at 7:30 p.m. next Friday from DeSoto's Eagle Stadium.
Lufkin, which managed only four first downs and 76 yards of offense after halftime, ended its season at 7-4.
"Coach came out (at halftime) and said, 'it's now or never. Win or go home,'" said Longview senior fullback Austin Moore, who's 11-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter gave the Lobos the lead for good. "So we had to impose our will on the other team, and play our heart out."
Moore's go-ahead score followed Lufkin's three-and-out to begin the second half, the only three offensive snaps taken by Rodgers post-halftime. The talented junior dual-threat QB sat alone with a towel draped over his head for most of the final two periods.
"He got banged up a little bit," Lufkin coach Todd Quick said of Rodgers. "We didn't feel good about putting him back in, and we weren't going to."
Lufkin backup quarterback Blake Brooks struggled as Rodgers' replacement, losing two fumbles and throwing an interception, which provided Longview's physical running game with more than enough ammunition.
The Lobos attempted only one pass in the second half, and relied on its assortment of backs to carry Longview to the finish line.
"We got some turnovers and got the ball on the plus end of the field," King said. "We were able to get the lead and started grinding the clock out, and kinda wore them down at the end."
Longview senior tailback Braylynn Anthony led the Lobos with 150 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.
Anthony's 50-yard scoring run, which occurred one play after defensive lineman Stacy Nelson's interception of a Rodgers' screen pass, gave the Lobos a 10-3 lead late in the opening quarter. His 9-yard touchdown run in the early stages of the fourth quarter, the final points of the night, effectively put the game away.
Longview senior running back Tylan Miller and Moore were able to wear down Lufkin's defensive front with their physical style of running. Miller had 89 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, while Moore ran eight times for 41 yards and a score.
"We have to wear them down," Moore said. "When you see big (backs), you don't like them coming up to you. We're a physical team. We're not going to run around here, we're coming straight to you."
Following Lufkin's three-and-out to start the third, Longview benefitted from a 5-yard punt, and took over at the Panthers' 31. Moore's 11-yard run four plays later gave Longview a 17-10 lead with 9:30 to play in the period.
The Panthers did not pick up a first down on Brooks' first series at quarterback, and Longview responded with a 60-play scoring drive that consisted of four runs from Moore and six by Miller, including his 5-yard score that pushed the Lobos' lead to 24-10.
Brooks fumbled on the ensuing possession, and Longview senior defensive end Kybrian Sheridan was there for the recovery at the Lufkin 30, which set up Anthony's 9-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-2 just 44 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Sheridan led a stout Longview pass rush that flustered Rodgers' and Co. most of the night.
"The pass rush was relentless," said Sheridan, who had a first-half sack. "You've got to keep your gaps and contain the quarterback, and don't let him find a way to sneak out. We got him on the run, and we had our secondary sticking their man."
Longview safety Travian Clayborn had a sack and an interception. Senior defensive lineman Trevor Allison recorded one sack, and senior cornerback Ameron Dean came down with an interception.
"I thought the defensive line did a great job on pressuring the quarterback and trying to maintain the pocket," King said. "It's tough sometimes with a three-man line, and they did a good job of pressuring him, and forcing him into bad throws. The best pass defense is a good pass rush."
Lufkin had its chances in the first half.
The Panthers moved the ball deep into Longview territory on the first drive of the night, but had to settle for Rodrigo Molina's 43-yard field goal, which answered Cody Jenkins' 36-yarder that capped Longview's opening drive.
Lufkin's next drive reached the Longview 30, but on third-and-long, Rodgers' screen pass was picked by Nelson and returned to midfield, which set the stage for Anthony's 50-yard scoring run on the next play.
The Panthers' following series, which advanced into Lobos' territory, also ended with an interception.
"You can't play that many snaps on defense, and you can't have that many turnovers. and you can't have that many missed opportunities in the red zone in the first half," Quick said.
Longview couldn't capitalize on Rodgers' second interception, and was forced to punt from inside its own 10. An 11-yard return by Savon Fields set Lufkin up at the Longview 45.
And on the seventh play of the drive, Rodgers rolled to his left and hit junior receiver Javante Ellington in the corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown that tied the game, 10-10, with 9:23 to play in the first half.
Neither offense accomplished much the remainder of the quarter. But the second half belonged to Longview.
"We had a spark tonight, and that's something we talked about," King said. "We needed a spark. Who was it going to be to get that fire started? Heck, it was everybody tonight."
Longview 31, Lufkin 10
Class 5A Division I Region II Bi-District Playoff
At Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler
Lufkin 3 7 0 0 -- 10
Longview 10 0 14 7 -- 31
LON--FG Cody Jenkins 36, 9:42.
LUF--FG Rodrigo Molina 43, 5:46.
LON--Braylynn Anthony 50 run (Jenkins kick), 2:12.
LUF--Javante Ellington 20 pass from Kordell Rodgers (Molina kick), 9:23.
LON--Austin Moore 11 run (Jenkins kick), 9:30.
LON--Tylan Miller 5 run (Jenkins kick), 3:24.
LON--Anthony 9 run (Jenkins kick), 11:16.
First Downs 18 18
Total Yards 342 280
Rushes-Yards 49-319 36-150
Passing Yards 23 130
Comp.-Att.-Int. 1-7-0 16-30-3
Punts-Avg. 3-38.0 3-22.7
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards 4-30 3-20
RUSHING--Longview, Braylynn Anthony 12-150, Tylan Miller 17-89, Austin Moore 8-41, D'Crayvan Polk 3-31, Michael Ross 4-13, Kendrevian White 4-6, Brycelon Pruitt 1-(-11). Lufkin, Khalil Brown 13-60, Ellis Jackson 8-49, Blake Brooks 6-25, Kordell Rodgers 8-15, Dalvin Smith 1-1.
PASSING--Longview, Ross 1-7-0--23. Lufkin, Rodgers 12-21-2--89, Brooks 4-9-1--41.
RECEIVING--Longview, Jordan Wyatt 1-23. Lufkin, Malik Jackson 5-47, Javante Ellington 5-43, Dhailon Phillips 5-36, Kenneth Warren 1-4.