By Bob Kowalski
Timberview’s football season ended Friday with a 37-21 loss to Longview in a hard-fought matchup between the top two teams in Texas Football’s Class 5A state rankings.
The Wolves (13-1), who ended the regular season No. 2 in 5A and captured the District 5-5A DI title without a loss, reached the postseason for the fifth consecutive season and eighth time in nine seasons while making their deepest playoff run since the 2011 team also advanced to the region final.
Longview (14-0) scored on the opening possession of the second half at Mesquite ISD’s Memorial Stadium to open a 21-14 lead, but Timberview needed only three plays – all runs by senior Jarvis Reed -- to tie the game for the third time. Reed’s exciting 64-yard run up the visitors’ sideline knotted the score at 21-21.
The Lobos had a big-play answer of their own, though, when running back Taylor Tatum bolted 58 yards for a touchdown on the first play after the kickoff, giving Longview a 28-21 lead with more than half of the third quarter to play.
Timberview was unable to move the ball on its next drive, and a bad bounce on a punt into a strong wind gave the Lobos the ball at Timberview’s 45-yard line. From there, they drove to a 36-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to open a 31-21 lead.
The Wolves appeared to be on the march when quarterback Cameron Bates connected with Reed on a 28-yard pass to convert a third-and-11, but the Wolves eventually turned the ball over on downs. The Lobos gave the offense over to Tatum, who carried on seven consecutive plays, the last a 4-yard TD run to bolster the lead to 37-21 and all but ice the game with just over 6 minutes left.
Timberview turned the ball over on downs on its next drive, then a skirmish on the field after the Lobos’ first play left a game official on the ground and caused a delay while medical staff attended to him and coaches separated the players.
In the first half, Timberview’s opening drive was costly, as a fumble on the fourth play gave Longview the ball at the Wolves’ 24-yard line. Tatum scored on a 3-yard run seven plays later to give Longview a 7-0 lead with 4 ½ minutes gone.
Timberview answered on its next possession, driving 75 yards in 10 plays, with running 29 yards on a keeper for the score, shedding tacklers in the secondary on the way. The extra point tied the game at 7-7 with 2:50 left in the first quarter. Bates had kept the drive going with a third-and-7 strike to Titus Evans for a first down at Longview’s 31-yard line.
Longview took a 14-7 lead less than a minute into the second quarter when Tatum went 12 yards for a touchdown to cap a nine-play, 64-yard drive.
Starting at its own 31-yard line, Timberview relied on Reed, who carried on 5 of 8 plays for 24 yards, 15 of which came on a burst outside to give the Wolves a first down at Longview’s 25-yard line. Bates found Savion McKinnon in the end zone on the next play for a score to tie the game at 14-14 with 7 ½ minutes left till halftime.
Longview got fortuitous field position on the kickoff, returning the ball to midfield and benefiting from a facemask penalty to start their drive at Timberview’s 36-yard line. But the Wolves’ defense held, demolishing a screen pass on third-and-two, forcing a punt and securing the 14-14 tie at the break.
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