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Lobos show fighting spirit in gut-wrenching defeat

George Whitley

By George Whitley
Dec. 16, 2017 at 11:10 p.m.


ALLEN — As the rain poured, the tears flowed. All of the what might have beens and what could have beens ultimately came to rest in the harsh reality of a heartbreaking 28-26 loss for the Longview Lobos Saturday in their Class 6A Division II semifinal with the undefeated Waco Midway Panthers.

Longview's bid for a fifth state championship appearance and the school's first state title in 80 years must wait at least another season.

Washed away in all the emotion of the of their gut-wrenching defeat was a gallant never-give-up fighting spirit. Each time Lobos appeared down and out, they'd come up with a big catch, or a clutch pass or key defensive stop.

This game had a little bit of everything but that's of little consolation to the throng of green-clad Lobo fans that had to fight back tears of another stinging setback.

"These kids gave the effort we thought we'd get. They played Lobo football. Everybody sells our kids short, but nobody's gonna play harder," said a stoic but clearly spent Longview coach John King.

Longview stared a 28-13 deficit square in the face and answered with a 27-yard halfback pass from Keilyn Williams to A'Darius Carter with 4:20 left in the third quarter. The crafty call was well executed and put the Lobos right back in the mix.

Early on in the fourth quarter Haynes King was somehow able to fit a 15-yard touchdown pass into the arms of Jaylin Brown. Longview's subsequent two-point try was unsuccessful, leaving the Lobos down a deuce with still most of the final quarter to be played.

Midway appeared ready to hammer the final nail, but Roshodrick Harmon had other ideas. He stepped in front of a Tanner Mordecai pass two yards deep in the end zone and brought it back to the Midway 29.

A block in the back negated Harmon's long return, but the Lobos were still able to cling to hope. The Panthers came up with a pick when Matthew Barnhill swallowed an errant King toss with 65 seconds remaining that surely all but extinguished any opportunity of Lobo rally.

Think again.

Mordecai would be jarred loose of the football and Jared Reese was there for Longview with the unimaginable fumble recovery with just under a minute left.

"Even when we threw the pick, I thought we may get one last shot at it. Something crazy and we did," said the coach. "I didn't think we would get the fumble like we did but we had a shot. We had a chance to make plays."

This one is gonna leave a mark, there's no doubt. But King can sleep well knowing his kids left it all on the field.

Now it's time to get ready for next year.

(Follow George Whitley on Twitter: @GPigskinprof)

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