December 22, 2018
Longview 35, Beaumont West Brook 34
When Longview’s Michael Martin recovered a Beaumont West Brook fumble with just over three minutes remaining in the game, the partisan crowd of over 48,000 (the fourth largest in TXHSFB history) exploded into one of the most deafening roars I'd ever heard, I simply had to stand up in and take it all in. There aren’t many sports moments in a lifetime you’ll get to witness in person that are awe inspiring, but that sea of green and gold clad Lobo fans was a sight to behold and when Haynes King kneeled on third down and the play clock reset to forty and the Lobos didn’t have to run another play, 81 years of anguish and frustration ended in pure joy as the Lobos took home a thrilling one-point win over the Bruins to take home the Class 6A Division II state title.
Junior QB Haynes King earned offensive MVP honors for the Lobos throwing for 423 yards and two touchdowns, while adding in 65 yards on the ground and a touchdown. His top target was Kamden Perry who hauled in eight passes for 218 yards and a touchdown. Jessie Anderson had 90 yards of offense and tallied a pair of rushing touchdowns for Longview. West Brook was led by QB La’Ravien Elia who had 290 yards of offense, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another score. Junior RB Ja’Kobi Holland ran for 122 yards and two scores, while Deonte Simpson had 106 receiving yards and two scores.
Early in the game it appeared neither defense would be able to find their footing as both teams lobbed haymaker after haymaker in a chippy matchup that was a pure pleasure to watch. The chippy play came more from the contempt of familiarity as these two had played in the first round of the playoffs the past two seasons. Longview opened the scoring midway through the first quarter as Abilene Christian signee Anderson bowled his way into the end zone for a three yard run and 6-0 LHS lead as the PAT failed after a bad snap. West Brook answered late in the first quarter as North Texas signee Deonte Simpson got his monster night started hauling in a 35-yard touchdown pass from Elia putting the Bruins up 7-6. Longview would answer just 53 seconds later as King found his favorite target Perry on a short pass and after breaking a tackle, Perry streaked up the West Brook sideline for a 77-yard touchdown putting the Lobos back up 13-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The Bruins would take charge of the game with a dominating second quarter, outscoring the Lobos 21-7 as QB Elia scored on 22-yard run to put WBHS back up 14-13. After forcing a Longview punt, West Brook took a 21-13 lead with 6:59 left in the second quarter as Ja’Kobi Holland scored from 35-yards out, breaking multiple tackles in the process. Longview would answer with 1:55 remaining in the game as King hooked up with WR Kaden Kearby for a 40-yard touchdown to cut the West Brook lead to 21-20. After a big kickoff return, West Brook needed just thirty seconds to answer as Elia again hooked up with Simpson, this time from 25 yards out and the underdogs from the Golden Triangle held a 28-20 halftime edge.
The tenor of the game completely changed in the second half, as both defenses made some key adjustments, and what was a high scoring shootout turned into a physical street fight in the final two quarters. After nearly eight minutes of field position football between both teams, Longview broke the ice with 3:44 left in the third quarter as King scored on a 25-yard run to make it 28-26. It appeared Jessie Anderson tied the game on the two point conversion, but after a replay review the call was overturned and the Bruins held a slim two-point edge.
West Brook would respond with their punishing rushing attack marching right down the field as the clock in the third quarter wound down, and the Bruins would extend the lead to 34-26 as Holland scored his second touchdown of the night from three yards out. The PAT try failed however as there was a botched hold and Longview was still within a single score.
The Lobos offense would answer right back, marching down the field and facing a third-and-goal from the West Brook eleven, Longview dialed the right play up as King had TE Jhailon Braden all alone in the end zone. The pass however, was overthrown and King crumpled to the AT&T Stadium turf in absolute dejection knowing an opportunity slipped away. Longview would settle for a 28-yard JK Martin field goal to cut the lead to 34-29 with 8:17 left.
Longview’s defense would give their offense another chance — and quickly — as they forced a West Brook three-and-out. On the second play of Longview’s next series, King wouldn’t let this chance slip past as he tossed a 54-yard laser beam to WR Kyas Moore to put Longview inside of the West Brook 10-yard line with just over six minutes left. Three plays later on third-and-goal, Anderson would power in a two-yard touchdown run to give Longview their first lead since the first quarter at 35-34 with 4:42 left.
That score would set up the Longview defense, who all year had a knack for big plays in big moments and after a West Brook first down put the Bruins near midfield the Lobos defense would rise once more and send the East Texas faithful into a massive celebration.
DB Tyshawn Taylor was the defender who forced the West Brook fumble on first down and Martin was the Lobo who pounced on the football and cradled for dear life as Longview’s defense celebrated another massive play. The Longview offense would need to get at least one first down to run the clock and out, and they got it as speedy senior RB Keilyn Williams ripped off a 31-yard touchdown run before being knocked out of bounds at the West Brook eight. It was actually a good thing Williams was knocked out as if he scored a touchdown, its likely the Bruins would have gotten the ball back down eight with a chance to tie the game.
Instead, Longview started to kneel down and burn the clock, but in order for the math to work and Longview to not have to give the ball back to West Brook, Haynes King and his father John King had to get creative with the kneel down process. Instead of just taking a knee right away, King took the snap ran back a couple of yards, held for a second and then fell down as a West Brook defender bore down on him. This allowed Longview to run off a precious extra 2-3 seconds on the first couple of snaps, which meant when King kneeled on third down, the game was clock was under forty seconds and the celebration was on as Longview didn’t have to run another play.
It was sweet vindication for a Longview program that for so many years had suffered agonizing playoff disappointment and the emotion was palatable across the stadium. In many ways this title almost came a year early as many around Gregg County thought 2019 might be the Lobos chance at a title, but a gutsy group of seniors paired with a super talented junior class proved to be the magic formula. For West Brook, the loss was stinging, but second year head coach Eric Peevey and his team exhibited a lot of poise and class in the losing effort and earned respect and admiration across the state for their incredible effort in a game that certainly will be remembered for a long time.