Lobos snap Wildcat win streak taking 2-0 lead in district race

By DON WALLACE, News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 5, 2008 - The bar has been raised.

For five weeks the Sulphur Springs Wildcats have scored win against the competition racking up a 5-0 mark and a No.7 state ranking.

Now, the second week of District 13-4A play it serious. This is tackle football for only the strong-hearted warriors, leave the feeble at the house.

The Wildcats lost 32-13 Friday at a packed Gerald Prim Stadium to a salty bunch of No. 6-state ranked Lobos from Longview.

"The new level is set. We have to play as well as teams like Longview," said Sulphur Springs head football coach Greg Owens. "We had some opportunities in the football game. We had an interceptions, we did not get in the end zone. We had a dropped touchdown pass. I could list 10 things we did not do. We had some chances. Longview did a good job of bending, bending and not breaking. We spent too much time on the field defensively, we didn't make tackles"

The coach continued, "Longview did some things early to get ahead of us. You can't make mistakes against a great football team like Longview. We had chances early and could not do anything about it."

Tyler McCray led the Longview offense with two touchdown runs, The Longview team controlled the game and the clock.

Longview rolled up 429 total yards, 189 yards coming from McCray runs on just 10 carries.

The Sulphur Springs signal-caller Tyrik Rollison threw two touchdown passes, but was constantly harassed by the hungry Lobo defense getting sacked seven times.

Rollison threw the ball 52 times, completing 32 for a 327 total yards.

Sulphur Springs tried to catch the Lobos napping on the opening kickoff, but the onside attack failed with Bryce Bagby recovering.

The first place from scrimmage Lobo quarterback Aaron Johnson was belted for a sack, the ball squirted free and was recovered by Colton Lee of the Wildcats at the Longview 48-yard line.

Rollison threw to Rashad Hall for a short gain, the next pass fell incomplete. Rollison rolled around the end, looking for an open receiver. He found none and had to run for a two-yard gain. The Wildcats had to punt with Rollison getting off a boot which netted 41 yards, pinning the Lobos back at their own five-yard line.

The slick Longview attack only needed seven plays to cover 95 yards in less than four minutes. During the drive, the Lobos picked up yardage in chunks. McCray ran for nine yards, then quarterback Aaron Johnson slipped up the middle for six more yards. Johnson stepped back and threw a strike to Oliver for a 26-yard gain. Two plays later it was Johnson pitching to McCray for a 31-yard pickup. The capping play of the possession was a 14-yard run by McCray. The fleet back followed blocks to pay dirt and gave the Lobos an early 6-0 lead. The extra point at the 8:37 mark gave Longview a 7-0 lead.

Sulphur Springs got the ball back following the deep kickoff and set up shop at their own 10-yard line.

The Wildcat offense was working like a charm. The mixture of short passes and runs by Ryan Young moved the chains as they put together a six-minute drive. Young ran three times for 11 total yards, while Rollison completed passes to Shane McQueen, Young, Hall and Jace Jackson as the Wildcats matriculated the ball from their end of the field to the Longview 13. Young then tried to run wide and was stopped for a loss by the speedy Lobo defense. Rollison's next pass fell off the hands of a receiver incomplete. Rollison threw short to Jackson who was flipped into the air on the catch, netting only 10 yards. Rollison's fourth down throw into the end zone fell incomplete and the Wildcats had to surrender the ball on downs with nothing to show for their possession with still 2:39 left in the opening quarter.

Longview took over at their own six-yard line and took the rest of the quarter and into the second frame to continue their drive. The Lobos got a big hunk of real estate when Johnson ran wide for a 51-yard gain to move the ball deep into Wildcat territory. But the drive fizzled and the Lobos had to try a 24-yard field goal. Kyle Jenkins' boot hit the upright and bounced harmlessly back to the field and the Wildcats had dodged a scoring chance by the Lobos with 11:03 left in the first half.

Sulphur Springs took over at their own 20 and it did not take long for disaster to strike. Rollison's first pass to Young was a one-yard loss as the Longview defense crept closer to the line. Rollison's next pass turned the game, Lobo strong safety Lamarcus Howard intercepted the ball and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. Jenkins kicked the extra point and the green Lobos were celebrating a 14-0 lead with 10:19 remaining before intermission.'

The Wildcats had a plan of their own and they stuck to it. They drove from their 18-yard line to the 27 of Longview. In that drive Rollison completed passes to Garrett Ferguson for 34 yards while also using his feet to run for first downs on two occasions.

Sulphur Springs advanced as far as the Longview 22, but were pushed back by a penalty for an illegal block. The Wildcats were limited to a long field goal try by Fernando Arellano which fell short from 45 yards out.

Longview took over at their 27 and it did not take long for lightning to strike again for the Lobos. The first play of the drive resulted in just a three-yard gain by Da'Cedric Hunt. But the second play was a doozie. Johnson held onto to the ball until the last minute, fighting off tacklers as he pitched the ball to McCray for a 70-yard gain. Jenkins made the extra point with 3:50 left in the opening half, giving the visiting Lobos a 21-0 lead.

Sulphur Springs made the most of the time left and drove from their 32 to the end zone. The possession was sparked by a good return of the kickoff by LeMarcus Kendricks.

Rollison threw to Eddie Arciga for a 12-yard gain. Then Rollison ran for a dozen more. Rollison kept the drive alive again with a key run. On a fourth down from the Longview 28-yard line, Rollison delivered a strike across the middle of field hitting Shane McQueen with a 28-yard scoring play. Arellano's extra point was good with 1;24 left in the first half and the Wildcats had reduced the Longview lead to 21-7.

Second half

The Longview squad quickly used their defense to take control of the game in the third period.

The Wildcats got yardage up the middle on runs by Young. Rollinson completed two passes to Jackson to get near midfield. But the Lobos forced an incompletion on third down and then sacked Rollison on fourth down to take over the ball at their 46-yard line on downs.

The Lobos went to work on the clock with their ball-control attack. Carey Fortson got three yards on a lucky bounce when a handoff hit the grounded and the bounced back into his arms. Two runs by McCray netted 30 yards in the middle of the field on quick hitting runs. Two plays later the Lobos scored when Oliver raced over from two-yards out. The Lobos tacked on a two-point conversion run by Johnson. Longview had a 29-7 lead with 6:59 left in the third frame.

The next possession by Sulphur Springs was dominated by big plays. First, Rollison threw to Kendricks for a 44-yard deep pass. But the next plays went backward with Rollison sacked for a 22 yard loss and then trapped on fourth down as again Longview held the Wildcats out of the end zone.

Longview padded their lead with a 26-yard Jenkins field goal which capped a long scoring drive of 10-plays.

Late in the game Sulphur Springs was on the short end of the 32-7 score. Wildcat offensive coordinator Jeff Riordan urged his team from the sideline to have some fun. The Sulphur Springs attack clicked for the final score of the game.

The Wildcats drive covered 65 yards with gains coming on sharp passing plays. Rollison capped the drive with a three-yard scoring pass to Jackson. The try for a two-point conversion failed with 2:12 left on the game clock.

The Wildcats saw their undefeated record disppear into the October night as Longview won by the final of 32-13.

Sulphur Springs, now 5-1, 1-1, must regroup as they head to Texarkana for the next game Friday against Texas High.

"We got to get ready for T High," Owens said. "We got to go win that ball game."

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