By Bruce Guthrie
The North Little Rock Charging Wildcats avoided bad weather at home, but couldn’t avoid the wrath of a wounded Longview Lobos team and fell 30-14 for their first loss of the young season.
The Lobos beat North Little Rock soundly even without their All-district quarterback who suffered a torn ACL effectively ending his high school career.
The Lobos did it with defense holding Altee Tenpenney to just 67 yards on 19 carries and just couldn’t get into the open field hitting better than 10 yards on just three of his carries.
Big plays on special teams were the order of the day for Longview, even when North Little Rock scored.
"We should have beat them," said head coach Brad Bolding. "We are a better team. Special teams made the difference."
The Charging Wildcats scored the game’s first touchdown on a pass from Peyton Holmes to Rodney Bryson with less than two minutes to go in the first quarter but Longview blocked the extra point.
The Lobos’ first touchdown came when Nakia Brown returned a punt 85 yards for a score.
An interception on North Little Rock’s next possession set up the Lobos’ next score and suddenly North Little Rock was down 14-6.
North Little Rock scored their second touchdown on a 6-yard pass from Heath Lamb to Kevin Peters after Longview had extended their lead to 21-6. Holmes’ two-point conversion narrowed Longview’s lead to seven.
Special teams sealed the Lobos victory on a blocked punt. On the ensuing kickoff, a fumble in the end zone resulted in a safety for Longview.
The loss was good in some ways according to Bolding.
"It brought some things to light," Bolding said.
Bolding is now setting aside some morning hours toward improving special teams play.
"It’s not that we haven’t been working on it," Bolding said. "We are just going emphasize some more things. We will get better."