RUSTON, La. — Longview’s trip to Louisiana delivered just about everything the Lobos expected from their showdown with the Ruston Bearcats.
Behind a five-touchdown night passing from quarterback Haynes King and some crucial stops from the Lobo defense, Longview found a way to pull away and rolled from there in a physical 56-28 win over Ruston at James Field at LJ ‘Hoss’ Garrett Stadium in Ruston, Louisiana.
With the win, Longview moves to 4-0 on the season for the first time since 2005 to close the non-district slate.
“It was a tough, hard-nosed game from the start,” Longview head coach John King said. “It was as physical as what we expected it would be and there were some fireworks like I expected there would be.”
King finished 16-of-20 passing for 354 yards and five touchdowns in the win for the Lobos, who totalled 661 yards of total offense on the night.
The junior quarterback added his sixth touchdown overall on a 20-yard trick play pass from JD Williams.
“We were able to hit some throws and we felt like would be able to throw the ball with the matchup we had,” King said. “We felt like that was one area where we had an advantage.
“With their defensive line, we felt like we had to open it up some and we did.”
Ruston opened it up as well. Behind a big night from senior do-it-all quarterback Eric Outley, Ruston finished with 535 yards of total offense. Outley finished with three rushing touchdowns on a 169-yard night for the Bearcats, who had 304 yards on the ground.
“They’re a good offensive football team with some great personnel that run their offense well,” King said of Ruston. “We felt like coming in that we would have to match score for score and be able to grind the clock. We were able, finally, to do both.”
Longview scored three-straight unanswered touchdowns to take a 28-13 lead at halftime.
Receiving the opening kick in the second half, Ruston scored quickly, setting up a back-and-forth showdown until a big stop from the Lobo defense forced a field goal with 29 seconds left in the 29-point third quarter for a 42-28 Longview lead.
“It took us a while to get comfortable tonight,” King said. “We let them right back in it a few times and they got themselves back in it as well.
“Another bend but not break night but the kids just kept plugging away and got a few big stops.”
King targeted Kamden Perry eight times on the night for 185 yards and scoring hookups of 64, 39 and 10 yards.
Jessie Anderson, who had 68 rushing yards and a six-yard score, had a 24-yard catch and run touchdown pass from King. Keilyn Williams who had 73 rushing yards, had a 65-yard touchdown reception as well.
Kaden Meredith had a 66-yard, fourth-quarter run on his first touch of the night to ice it.
Longview finished with 287 rushing yards on 31 carries. Ruston (2-2) finished the night with 304 rushing yards.
Ruston turned in points off of three of Longview’s four lost fumbles on the night, including an opening-drive score into the end zone that resulted in a touchdown drive, a high snap that the Bearcats recovered in the end zone and a field goal following Longview’s second high-snap fumble.
But Longview’s defense came away with big stops throughout and forced Ruston to a 2-of-10 night on third down and 1-of-6 game on fourth-down tries.
Up 28-13 after King’s fourth first-half touchdown pass, the Lobo defense held Ruston out of the end zone after the Bearcats marched to the Longview 16-yard line. Longview came away with a big third-quarter sack to force the game’s only punt and, on Ruston’s next possession, Jephaniah Lister delivered a third-down sack to force a 28-yard field goal from Ruston.
King and Perry connected twice in the first half as Longview went into the break with a 15-point lead.
The two teams used nine plays combined in the first three minutes of the third quarter for three touchdowns.
Up 10, a double reverse — the ‘Philly special’ — from the Lobos that saw King pitch to Anderson, who threw it to JD Williams who then hit a wide-open King for a 20-yard touchdown, was the back-breaker for Ruston.
Now, Longview turns its attention to the District 11-6A opener next week against Rockwall, a league-opening meeting that proves to carry a lot of weight moving forward.
“It gets for real,” King said. “We have to go up there and play against a good football team that’s scoring a bunch of points.
“It doesn’t get any easier by any stretch. It’s the most important part of the season because we’ve got to find a way to become a playoff team and fight for a district championship over the next six games.”