Longview’s Time In Championship Bracket Cut Short By Last-Minute Clear Brook Touchdown
COLLEGE STATION -- Longview's best 7-on-7 team in several years met its end in epic fashion Saturday.
Baylor commitment Mark Milton caught a 15-yard touchdown in the final seconds to give Friendswood Clear Brook a 46-40 victory against the Lobos in the Division I championship bracket's round of 32 at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex. Milton's snag was Clear Brook's third consecutive touchdown.
Clear Brook's victory took the wind out of an impressive Friday for the East Texas side. Longview entered the championship bracket mix as the undefeated winner of Pool I, which Dave Campbell's Texas Football's Matt Stepp dubbed 'The Group of Death.'
The Lobos downed the respected Pearland program, an 11-win Lubbock Coronado squad from a season ago and defending Class 6A Division II state champion DeSoto for the pool title.
"We just wanted to play our hardest," senior receiver Jaylin Brown said. "We wanted to come out with victories against all of our opponents."
Longview's demise coincided with a drop in offensive production. It failed to convert either of its final two possessions for points after scoring its first six drives.
Clear Brook also was held out of the end zone twice -- Jephania Lister killed one of its drives with the game's sole interception -- but the Greater Houston Area squad picked its timing better. Four of five second-half possessions resulted in points.
The tying drive started when the Lobos were flagged for a delay of game penalty while facing third down and the standard 15 yards from the 45-yard line. In 7-on-7 ball, a delay penalty results in a loss of down, and the drive was dead right there.
After Clear Brook evened the game, 40-40, the Lobos strung together three incomplete passes for the first time all game.
Clear Brook ended up with nine possessions to Longview's eight. Working against a continuous clock, the final whistle blew before the officials could set the ball for quarterback Jordan Lawson's last-ditch effort.
Senior receiver Kendle Johnson scored a team-best three touchdowns in his final 7-on-7 game. Brown tied a Clear Brook player for the longest score of the game, a 45-yard reception. Perry Lloyd recorded a 14-yard touchdown and Kamden Perry scored from one yard.
Longview's trip to College Station was the school's first since 2013. It failed to qualify for the state level in the years between, frequently bowing out in the semifinal round of the annual Tyler State Qualifying Tournament.
The recent 7-on-7 outcomes have not had much bearing on the Lobos' official football seasons. Each team between 2014 and 2016 made the state playoffs and at least tied for a district championship.
"It's been a good summer," Brown said. "Coach (John) King has us lifting weights and working hard. We're getting big and strong."
While Longview advanced to the championship bracket in this year's installment of 7-on-7 play, its first two opponents on the fall schedule -- Lufkin and Marshall -- competed in Division I consolation play.
Lufkin reached the quarterfinals with a 32-31 overtime win against The Colony and a 39-18 win against DeSoto before running across Mercedes. That left the Panthers with a final state 7-on-7 record of 3-3.
Marshall ended its time at the tournament with a 1-4 record. It was eliminated by Edinburgh North, 33-27, in the first of five consolation rounds.