LONGVIEW — The eighth-ranked Longview Lobos fumbled six times, losing three of them.
But it was the fumble Longview forced that was the difference in a 23-21 win over No. 3 DeSoto on Thursday at Lobo Stadium.
With less than two minutes remaining and DeSoto backed up near its own end zone, Lobos junior Jalen Porter raced in untouched and stripped quarterback Desmon White. White was able to recover the fumble, but it was in his own end zone.
That safety was all Longview needed. The Lobos recovered DeSoto’s onside kick attempt and ran out the clock.
Longview (9-1, 5-0) finished as District 11-5A champion with DeSoto (9-1, 4-1) suffering its first loss and forced to settle for second.
Longview grabbed a 21-14 lead at the start of the fourth quarter on a 22-yard scoring pass from Bivins Carraway to receiver Eric Hawkins.
DeSoto drove down and was in position to tie before fumbling on fourth-and-short inside the Lobo 5.
The Eagles stopped Longview’s next drive, and after a short punt, White turned what looked like a short gain into a highlight-reel 41-yard touchdown run to tie it up with 4:27 remaining. The sophomore quarterback kept the ball and raced to the right. He looked to be bottled up before reversing field and going back to the left and outrunning defenders into the end zone.
The Eagles then produced what appeared to be the biggest turnover of the game when Carraway’s deep pass was intercepted by Nick Orr at the 3.
But that pinned DeSoto back inside its own territory. Two plays after that, Longview was celebrating the game-winning safety.
Longview continued its dominance in district play as the Lobos have lost one district game since 2004. At home, the Lobos are unbeaten in district since 2003.
DeSoto took the early initiative, with senior Devin Rushing turning a fourth-and short into a 53-yard touchdown run. Bryson Echols’ extra point made it 7-0 with 10:42 remaining in the first quarter.
It was the lone highlight for the visitors in the first two quarters as Longview forced DeSoto into three-and-outs on three of its seven drives with others stopped on an interception, turnover on downs and missed field goal.
The missed field goal occurred after DeSoto had recovered a Longview fumble at the Lobos’ 16 with 16 seconds remaining.
While DeSoto’s offense sputtered following its touchdown, Longview stopped itself with fumbles. The Lobos fumbled five times in the first two quarters, losing two of them. The Lobos also missed a field goal, but got the tying score late in the second quarter thanks to Longview forcing a turnover of its own.
Lobos sophomore Stephan Maxey intercepted a DeSoto pass and returned it 28 yards to the Eagles’ 14. On third-and-4, Caraway dropped back and found Colin Jeter wide open for a 13-yard touchdown. Israel Madrid’s PAT made it 7-7.