Longview Pulls Away From Vandegrift, 56-28, to Reach Quarters
WACO – It’s as if Longview’s “Mean Green Marching Machine” knew what was coming. And with how well the Lobos’ offense has performed all season, it wasn’t a bold choice at all.
The Longview band began playing the school’s fight song just before the snap, and Lobos junior running back Keilyn Williams started a streak of 21 unanswered points with a 6-yard touchdown run.
The Lobos broke open a seven-point game with three touchdowns in a span of 3:35 in the third and fourth quarter, rolling to a 56-28 win over Austin Vandegrift in a Class 6A Division II regional semifinal Saturday night at McLane Stadium.
Longview (13-0) will meet Spring Westfield (12-1) in the state quarterfinals next week. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday from Waco ISD Stadium.
The Lobos have scored 196 points in their three playoff wins, and hung 56 points and 533 yards of offense on a Vandegrift (12-1) defense that came in allowing just 13 points per game.
“I think it started up front,” Longview coach John King said of his offense. “Those kids did a good job blocking and picking up all the twists in the run game in the passing game.”
Longview junior quarterback Haynes King eclipsed the 3,000-yard passing mark for the season by throwing for 247 yards and three touchdowns on 13 of 16 passing. He now has 38 touchdowns and just one interception on the year.
“I think Haynes had time to throw the ball and the receivers did their job, and we’ve got two backs that run really well,” Coach King said. “And they feed off one another. It takes 11 in the unit, but I think the offensive line play was probably as good as we could’ve hoped for tonight with that we saw.”
Haynes King also carried the ball a season-high 15 times for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
“We were going to do what we had to, and if that was something they were gonna give us, but we felt like we were gonna have to run him a little bit just because of how they lined up,” Coach King said of Haynes’ rushing prowess Saturday. “I thought (offensive coordinator Chris Vallery) did an excellent job putting a plan together for that.”
Williams led Longview’s rushing attack with 120 yards on 17 carries. He also caught two passes for 29 yards and a touchdown.
Longview allowed 21 first-half points, but clamped down on Vandegrift in the second half. The Lobos forced four turnovers on the night – all after halftime – and limited the Vipers to 284 total yards.
“Defensively we kinda shot ourselves in the foot there in the first half with penalties and busted alignments,” Coach King said. “Then we settled into what they were doing, made some adjustments and played a lot better. The penalties hurt us early on in the first half, it was crazy. But I was proud of the way the kids just kept playing, played through it. Sometimes that’s not easy to do in this kind of environment.”
After Williams’ touchdown pushed Longview’s lead to 42-28 with 1:19 remaining in the third, Longview forced a three-and-out and took over at its own 49 following just a 12-yard Vandegrift punt.
On the next play, Haynes King lofted a deep pass to Kamden Perry, who adjusted to the ball beautifully in one-on-one coverage, and came down with a 51-yard touchdown with three seconds to play in the quarter.
Perry finished with eight catches for 139 yards and the TD.
Vandegrift fumbled on the ensuing possession, setting up Jessie Anderson’s 16-yard touchdown with 9:44 remaining.
“It gets the football back to the offense and they can go do their thing, but that’s been big for us,” Coach King said of Longview’s four takeaways. “It takes everybody else doing their job, getting pressure on the quarterback.”
Both teams scored on their opening possessions of the night, and Vandegrift took a 14-7 lead on Dru Dawson’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Merrifield one play after Longview muffed a kickoff return.
Longview went up 28-21 with Haynes King’s 14-yard touchdown run, and his 6-yard scoring pass to Williams with three seconds to play in the half.
Kaden Kearbey caught a 49-yard-touchdown from King to finish the Lobos’ first drive of the third quarter, but the Vipers responded with an Isaiah Smallwood 16-yard touchdown run that cut Longview’s lead to 35-28 with 7:05 remaining in the third.
Smallwood carried 28 times for 129 yards and three touchdowns in the losing effort.
No. 4 Longview 56, Austin Vandegrift 28
Class 6A Division II, Region II Semifinal
At McLane Stadium, Waco
Longview 14 14 21 7 – 56
Vandegrift 14 7 7 0 – 28
LON—Haynes King 2 run (JK Martin kick), 6:31.
VAN—Isaiah Smallwood 7 run (Tim Barney kick), 2:24.
VAN—Ryan Merrifield 25 pass from Dru Dawson (Barney kick), 2:12.
LON—Jessie Anderson 7 run (Martin kick), :15.
VAN—Smallwood 6 run (Barney kick), 9:27.
LON—King 14 run (Martin kick), 5:34.
LON—Keilyn Williams 6 pass from King (Martin kick), :07.
LON—Kaden Kearbey 48 pass from King (Martin kick), 9:01.
VAN—Smallwood 16 run (Barney kick), 7:05.
LON—Williams 8 run (Martin kick), 1:19.
LON—Kamden Perry 51 pass from King (Martin kick), :03.
LON—Anderson 16 run (Martin kick), 9:44.
First Downs 25 15
Total Yards 533 284
Rushes-Yards 47-286 33-136
Passing Yards 247 148
Comp.-Att.-Int. 13-16-0 16-23-2
Punts-Avg. 1-40.0 3-23.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 3-2
Penalties-Yards 10-85 4-33
RUSHING—Longview, Keilyn Williams 17-120, Haynes King 15-93, Jessie Anderson 10-52, Kaden Meredith 3-26, JD Williams 1-(-3), Team 1-(-2). Vandegrift, Isaiah Smallwood 28-129, Brendan Bennett 3-7, Dru Dawson 2-0.
PASSING—Longview, King 13-16-0—247. Vandegrift, Dawson 16-23-2—148.
RECEIVING—Longview, Kamden Perry 8-139, Kaden Kearbey 2-77, Keilyn Williams 2-29, Anderson 1-2. Vandegrift, Ryan Merrifield 5-75, Trey Mongauzy 5-24, Bennett 5-14, Reese Watson 1-35.