The Longview offense hasn’t found a cure for its George Wright problem, as the Highland Park defensive back haunted the Lobos again on Friday.
Wright returned a fumble for a touchdown on the opening play of the second half to help the Scots surge past Longview 21-16 in a critical District 7-5A Div. I showdown at Highlander Stadium.
A year ago, Wright picked off a pass in the closing seconds to help preserve a seesaw victory against the Lobos. Like that game, Longview was plagued by miscues in the rematch of perennial powerhouses, thanks in large part to an opportunistic HP defense.
“Our defense came up with some big turnovers,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “It seemed to put the momentum on our side, and our guys were able to finish it off.”
On offense, Brennan Storer passed for 242 yards and two touchdowns against a physical Longview defense. John Rutledge again was his top target with five receptions for 96 yards and a score.
The Scots (5-1, 2-0) have won five consecutive games and are tied with Tyler atop the 7-5A standings. They will next travel to meet McKinney North on Oct. 15.
“We look at it as a district championship game, because they’re the team to beat in our district,” Allen said. “So now we’ve got to finish it off and run the table.”
HP forced two red-zone turnovers in the first half, including a Mason Gallas fumble recovery on the Lobos’ lengthy opening drive.
The Scots didn’t take advantage, but they did capitalize on a short punt later in the first quarter. The 5-yard connection between Storer and Rutledge was the only touchdown of the first half.
In the second quarter, Preston Taylor intercepted a pass deep in HP territory before fumbling during the return. Longview’s Connor Burns recovered, giving the Lobos (5-2, 2-1) a net gain of 30 yards on second-and-18. However, Longview settled for a field goal.
Wright’s scoop-and-score extended the margin to 14-3 and shifted momentum back to HP, which never surrendered the lead.
On the ensuing possession, Longview committed five penalties in a stretch of seven snaps to squander a scoring opportunity. Also among the Lobos’ 13 flags was a potentially costly face-mask violation that negated a third-down sack at the Longview 26.
That gave the Scots a chance at some insurance points late in the third, but the Lobos came up with a big defensive play of their own when Kaden Brooks intercepted a screen pass and scampered 65 yards for a touchdown.
With the advantage back to just four points, HP responded with an efficient drive capped by an 8-yard scoring strike from Storer to Jackson Heis.
“[Storer] was kind of out of sync on one of those drives, and he came back to lead us to a score with some really good decisions,” Allen said. “That’s a trait of a good quarterback. After a mistake, regroup and start over and make a good drive.”
Longview kept hope alive with a short touchdown pass from Jordan Allen to Taylor Tatum with 3:06 remaining. But the Lobos failed on the two-point conversion attempt and couldn’t recover an onside kick. HP ran out the clock from there.
HP’s Jay Cox finished with five receptions for 91 yards, all in the second half. The Scots managed just 49 yards on the ground.
Jarrett Lewis paced the Lobos with a game-high 65 rushing yards, but he carried the ball just once for two yards after halftime. Jalen Hale caught five passes for 55 yards.