Longview Holds Off Tascosa to Reach State Championship Game
ARLINGTON – The Longview Lobos were coasting toward their first state championship game appearance since 2009, then had to hold on for dear life.
Longview saw its 28-point lead evaporate to three before holding off Amarillo Tascosa, 45-42, in their Class 6A Division II semifinal Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
“It was a hard-fought victory against a very good opponent,” said Longview coach John King. “We had to do it a different way, it wasn’t easy.”
The Lobos (15-0) will meet Beaumont West Brook (13-2) for the title at 3 p.m. next Saturday.
“It’s a great feeling,” King said. “You’re drained from tonight just emotionally and physically but heck, we’re advancing to the last one. The kids had to earn it the hard way, and I’m extremely proud of them, their effort and their commitment to the football team.”
West Brook, which defeated Austin Westlake in its semifinal earlier in the day, and Longview split their bi-district playoff meetings in 2016 and 2017.
“We know that they have a talented quarterback, and they’ve got a lot of team speed,” King said of West Brook. “I haven’t seen them on tape (this year) but I’m sure it’s the same West Brook we’ve seen the last couple of years with the athleticism and wide-open offense.”
Trailing 45-28 with 5:10 remaining, Tascosa (11-4) drove down the field and scored on quarterback Joseph Plunk’s 13-yard touchdown run.
The Rebels then recovered an onside kick, and hit paydirt again on a nifty hook-and-ladder play. Plunk passed to Josue Torres, who pitched it to a trailing King Doerue, who then raced 47 yards to the end zone with 1:37 to play.
“I wasn’t surprised, that’s what they’ve done all year watching them on tape,” King said of Tascosa. “They’re a gritty bunch, and it’s a reflection of (head coach Ken Plunk) and how he coaches his kids. We knew they were gonna come back at us.”
Longview, however, was able to recover the ensuing onside kick and run out the remainder of the clock.
The Lobos, who put up 35 points and 260 yards in the first half, were held scoreless in the third quarter before getting a 35-yard field goal from JK Martin and a 14-yard touchdown run by Keilyn Williams in the fourth.
“I think our defense got worn down a little bit because we couldn’t possess the ball enough in the second half,” King said. “It showed there late. Onside kicks and big plays they had got them back in it.”
Williams led Longview offensively with 127 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Jessie Anderson added 111 yards and three scores on 13 attempts.
“We felt like we could run the ball,” King said. “You’re up 35-7 and you think you can keep doing that. We came out in the second half and didn’t block as well. I thought both of those backs ran extremely well.”
Haynes King passed for 87 yards and threw an interception, and rushed for times for 55 yards.
Tascosa dominated time of possession, and ran 30 more offensive plays than Longview.
The Rebels finished with 470 yards, including 378 on the ground on 65 carries. Plunk ran for 194 yards, and added 91 yards through the air with a pair of touchdowns.
Longview scored on its first four offensive possessions, and got a kickoff return by Kaden Merdeith for touchdown, and led 35-7 with 4:50 until halftime.
“It was huge, we thought we needed to get out on them and make them play from behind,” Coach King said. “But they just kept plugging away. We were our own worst enemy at times, and they had a lot to do with it. We were probably too conservative on offense with the lead. They had more pass attempts than we did, and that’s nobody but me.”
Anderson’s three scoring runs, and a touchdown run by Williams accounted for the Lobos’ offensive scores in the first half.
Tascosa scored on its final drive of the opening half, and its first in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 35-21.
No. 4 Longview 45, Amarillo Tascosa 42
Class 6A Division II Semifinal
At AT&T Stadium, Arlington
Tascosa 7 7 7 21 – 42
Longview 21 14 0 10 – 45
LON—Keilyn Williams 30 run (JK Martin kick), 10:00.
LON—Jessie Anderson 31 run (kick failed), 7:00.
TAS—Josue Torres 18 pass from Joseph Plunk (Max Burleson kick), 3:31.
LON—Kaden Meredith 85 kickoff return (Haynes King run), 2:58.
LON—Anderson 2 run (Martin kick), 10:20.
LON—Anderson 2 run (Martin kick), 4:50.
TAS—Burleson 1 pass from Evan Enos (Burleson kick), :12.
TAS—Ayden Noriega 8 pass from Plunk (Burleson kick), 7:25.
LON—FG Martin 35, 9:56.
TAS—King Doerue 4 pass (Burleson kick), 6:39.
LON—Williams 14 run (Martin kick), 5:10.
TAS—Plunk 13 run (Burleson kick), 1:46.
TAS—Doerue 47 pass from Plunk (Burleson kick), 1:37.
First Downs 25 20
Total Yards 470 378
Rushes-Yards 65-378 37-291
Passing Yards 92 87
Comp.-Att.-Int. 6-11-1 5-9-1
Punts-Avg. 3-38.0 1-33.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 6-82 9-103
RUSHING—Tascosa, .Joseph Plunk 29-194, Parker Settle 13-48, King Doerue 10-35, Max Burleson 3-32, Ayden Noriega 5-30, Josue Torres 1-26, D’Andre Campbell 3-8, Darius Sanders 1-5. Longview, Keilyn Williams 17-127, Jessie Anderson 13-111, Haynes King 4-55, Kaden Meredith 1-2, Team 2-(-4).
PASSING—Tascosa, Plunk 5-9-1—91, Evan Enos 1-1-0—1, Burleson 0-1-0—0. Longview, King 5-9-1—87.
RECEIVING—Tascosa, Burleson 2-10, Doerue 1-47, Torres 1-18, Brandon Sanders 1-9, Noriega 1-8. Longview, Kamden Perry 3-48, Anderson 1-32, Williams 1-7.