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'Underdog' Lobos beat Klein Collins

By Hayden Henry
Dec. 2, 2017 at 7:09 p.m.

Longview's Jalen Carr (27) intercepts the pass intended for Klein Collins' AJ Bennett (2) in the first half Saturday December 2, 2017, in Waco, Tx. Special contributor, Jerry Larson

WACO — Longview had heard it all week: Klein Collins was unbeaten. They're state-ranked, loaded and the Lobos were, perhaps, the underdogs in a third-round playoff game.

The Lobos brought their own message to the field on Saturday.

Longview climbed out of a 14-point hole with 23 unanswered points, and the Lobo defense turned in key stops to take a 30-24 win in a Class 6A, Division II, Region II semifinal at Baylor's McLane Stadium.

"They are good and we beat a really good football team today and our kids understood that," Longview head coach John King said. "But we're pretty good, too.

"Maybe some people sell us short at time but, like I've said all year long, our kids … they've got it. I don't know what it is, but I can tell you they're together."

With the win, Longview (12-1) advances to the state quarterfinals for the 14th time in program history and will square off with Lufkin, a 14-11 winner over Spring Westfield, for the Region II title at 2 p.m. Saturday at SFA's Homer Bryce Stadium in Nacogdoches.

Klein Collins' season ends at 11-1.

"That's the way football is supposed to be, East Texas meeting in the fourth round," King said. "I'm thrilled for our kids and what they've been able to accomplish and I'm proud for Lufkin as well.

"Now, we're going to meet up and we've met many times. It'll be an East Texas shootout."

Klein Collins jumped to a 14-0 lead before Longview roared back with a 16-point second quarter. Longview built a two-score lead twice in the second half and held off a final Tiger push late in the fourth quarter for the six-point win.

Longview pulled out the stops offensively against Klein Collins, which came in allowing an average of nine points per game. The Lobos finished with 22 passing attempts to match 22 rushing attempts for 240 total yards.

"We felt like we were going to have to throw it some, take some shots and win some 50-50 balls and we did all of that," King, who is making his sixth trip to the fourth round as the Lobo head coach, said. "I wish we would've been able to run it a little better and we did at times but we knew it was going to be tough.

"We knew we weren't going to be able to line it up with two tight ends and ram it at them. They're too big, too physical and have too many good players. We felt like we were going to have to do things differently and we did."

Sophomore Haynes King completed 14 of 22 pass attempts for 160 yards and four touchdowns in the win for Longview, using both the intermediate passing game and some deep shots.

"He did ok," King said. "He made some bone-head plays and he made some great ones too, just like I made a couple of bone-headed calls.

"We knew we couldn't get too conservative and had to take a few shots. We tried to be aggressive and mix it up a little bit."

All four scores went to the Lobo tight ends, led by a four-catch, three-score, 77-yard night from Jaylin Brown, giving him 12 touchdown hauls on the season. His highlight-reel catch for 30 yards set up his third of the night. Daquavion Randall had a six-yard touchdown catch. Kamden Perry had seven catches for 65 yards as well.

Keilyn Williams and Jaquan Edwards combined for 87 yards on the ground for Longview.

Defensively, Longview came away with two turnovers, the 32nd and 33rd takeaways of the season on an interception from Jalen Carr — his 10th of the season — and a fumble recovery from JaVontae Writt, which led to a Lobo score. KeAndre Mauldin had several tackles for loss as did safety Jephaniah Lister.

Longview limited Klein Collins to 155 yards on 46 carries, 102 of which came in the first half on 26 carries. Isaiah Spiller, an Oklahoma commit, finished with 131 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

Chris Kessler had three punts inside the 20, one coming off a career-best 53-yard punt, to go with a 42-yard field and four touchbacks for the Lobos.

The teams combined for 22 penalties for 201 total yards.

Klein Collins struck first on a two-yard score from Spiller and, after a sputtering start from the Lobo offense, the Tigers built a 14-0 lead with 10:30 left in the second quarter on Spiller's second and final score.

After Kessler's 53-yard boot, the Lobo defense forced a three-and-out and the Lobos got on the board with a 10-yard pass from King to Brown.

Writt recovered a fumble with 2:36 left in the first half, leading to Kessler's 42-yard kick and a 14-10 ballgame.

With 1:11 on the clock, King connected with Brown again on a 35-yard score and, following Carr's pick, the Lobos went to the break with a 16-14 lead.

A 31-yard run from Edwards sparked a seven-play, 66-yard march from Longview to open the third quarter. Brown had a one-handed grab in coverage and scored his third on a two-yard pass.

Klein Collins responded with a 19-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up nearly 11 minutes off the clock. Luther Williams had tackle for loss at the one and the Tigers resorted to a field goal.

Longview built its lead back to two scores when King hit a wide-open Randall for six yards with 6:08 left.

Lister had a tackle for loss to force a turnover on downs from Collins with 4:40 left but the Tiger defense forced a quick three-and-out from the Lobos.

Carter Rhyne, who passed for 243 yards, dropped a perfect pass to Jackson Loftin for a 55-yard score, making it a 30-24 Lobo lead with 3:57 left.

Longview converted a third down before a false start and a holding call forced the Lobos to punt with 33 seconds left.

The Lobo defense then went out and finished the job, lifting the Lobos to the fourth round.

"It was kids fighting for each other and cheering one another on," King said of the fourth quarter. "I wish it wouldn't have been a situation where we had to send the defense back out there, but we did and they had our backs once again."

(Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h)

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