• Greg Wille

PAYBACK: Arizmendi fires four TDs, Temple outscores No. 3 Longview 30-0 in second half of 40-13 romp

Updated: Sep 30, 2020


HAULING IT IN: Temple junior running back Samari Howard (8) catches a third-quarter pass from senior quarterback Humberto Arizmendi for a 36-yard gain as Longview senior safety Tyree Hale (19) closes in during the Wildcats' season-opening 40-13 win over the third-ranked Lobos on Friday night at Arlington's AT&T Stadium. Howard caught a 19-yard touchdown pass on the next play, the third TD toss by Arizmendi in a 7-minute span in the third quarter. Trailing the play are Temple senior wide receiver Luke Allen (12) and Longview senior linebacker Kybrien Jackson-Jamerson. (Photo by Matt Corley, Temple ISD/Special to TempleBeltonSports.com)



By GREG WILLE

TempleBeltonSports.com

gwille2@hot.rr.com


ARLINGTON – Roughly 10½ months ago, undefeated and state-ranked Longview pushed Temple around in a Class 6A Division II bi-district playoff game at Lobo Stadium, scoring 28 consecutive points and racking up 534 yards total offense in sending the overmatched Wildcats home from East Texas with a season-ending 41-10 loss.

In the teams' long-awaited season-opening rematch Friday night in front of a spread-out crowd at AT&T Stadium, the Wildcats refused to let the Lobos push them around anymore.

Trailing 5A Division I No. 3-ranked Longview 13-10 at halftime, Temple blitzed the turnover-ridden, penalty-plagued Lobos in the third quarter with three touchdown passes by senior and new starting quarterback Humberto Arizmendi in a 7-minute span, then the Wildcats' opportunistic defense added nine points in the fourth to put the finishing touches on Temple's runaway 40-13 victory.

The Wildcats not only avenged last year's playoff result but also snapped Longview's 26-game regular-season winning streak. Coach John King's Lobos, the unbeaten 6A D-II state champions in 2018, hadn't suffered a regular-season defeat since Sept. 22, 2017 at Mesquite Horn.

“We showed that there's always fight in us and we're never going to give up. My buddies and I are going to go to battle with each other, no matter who's on the other side of that ball. It feels great,” said Temple junior outside linebacker/strong safety Marshall Grays, who intercepted a Longview pass deep in Wildcats territory with 4 minutes left in the third quarter and returned it 28 yards before Arizmendi fired a 19-yard TD pass to junior running back Samari Howard, extending Temple's advantage to a commanding 31-13.

“We talked about attacking the football instead of just trying to do your job,” Temple fifth-year head coach Scott Stewart said about his defense, which collected four turnovers and limited Longview to 320 yards. “The ball gets you paid. At this level it's not money, but it's attention and it's possible (college) recruitment. That football is the most important thing on that field. If you attack it at all costs at all times, it at least gives you a chance.”



IMPRESSIVE DEBUT: In his first varsity game, Temple senior quarterback Humberto Arizmendi was 21-of-28 passing for 213 yards and four touchdowns in the Wildcats' season-opening 40-13 victory over Class 5A Division I No. 3-ranked Longview on Friday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Arizmendi's scoring throws were 38 yards to junior Tr'Darius Taylor, 10 yards to senior AJ McDuffy, 4 yards to senior Luke Allen and 19 yards to junior Samari Howard. After competing with sophomore Mikal Harrison-Pilot in preseason camp for the starting QB position, Arizmendi completed five passes to Harrison-Pilot for 26 yards. Arizmendi's 20 rushing yards matched Howard for the team lead. (Photo by Greg Wille, TempleBeltonSports.com)



Making his first varsity start after quarterbacking Temple's top junior varsity team last year, Arizmendi threw a first-quarter interception but completed 21 of 28 passes overall for 213 yards while operating a fast-tempo attack and connected with three other receivers for touchdowns: junior Tr'Darius Taylor from 38 yards, senior AJ McDuffy from 10 and senior Luke Allen from 4.

Temple senior nose tackle Jayven Taylor recovered a third-quarter fumble to set up a touchdown and swarmed a ball carrier in the end zone for a fourth-quarter safety, then junior safety O'Tarian Peoples punctuated the Wildcats' stunning second-half romp by grabbing another fumble with 3 minutes remaining and dashing 28 yards for the final TD as his team produced 30 unanswered points.

“After that halftime speech (by Stewart) we came out flying,” Grays said. “He told us to keep playing how we were playing, keep up the energy and keep the momentum and go from there.”

Having earned the starting assignment after a close preseason competition with sophomore Mikal Harrison-Pilot, who started at receiver against Longview, Arizmendi admitted to feeling some nerves early but went on to carve up Longview's physical but mostly inexperienced defense.

“I felt OK (before the game). I was focused. The only thing I was worried about was, 'How am I going to do in my first game?'” Arizmendi said. “The first part of the game I felt a little jittery and I threw that pick, but I had to learn from it. I kept my head up, came back and threw four touchdowns.”

Said Stewart about Arizmendi: “The errant throws in the first half, you've got to let him play through that. Instead of switching (quarterbacks) back and forth, we felt Humberto had the rhythm of the game a little bit. And Mikal played a ton at receiver. He's one of the best athletes in that locker room. I told you a long time ago that he ain't gonna hold a clipboard. It was just a matter of where we could fit him in and how can he help us. He had a great game at receiver.”

Grays started last year's playoff game at Longview as a sophomore in only his second varsity game, and Arizmendi wasn't even at Lobo Stadium that night. It's safe to say Grays was impressed by the Temple quarterback's debut performance.

“I think he played a hell of a game,” Grays said excitedly as Arizmendi stood next to him. “To come up from playing JV last year and come out here and lead us to a 40-13 victory, that's something that's unheard of.”

Excuse Stewart if he didn't seem quite as boisterous about the thorough opening win. He certainly was proud of how the Wildcats performed against a top-notch program, especially in the second half, but he wants to guard against them getting too carried away after one non-district triumph – albeit a very impressive one that will receive statewide attention.

“We're just trying to get better. People are asking me, 'Are you going to leave something in the locker room and tell the kids were going to come back (to AT&T Stadium for the state championship game in January)?' I'm like, 'I'm worried about next week,'” said Stewart, who as a first-year head coach in 2016 guided Temple to the 5A Division I state title game at AT&T. “I've got a young team, and I do know this game will humble you more than probably anything else in this world. There's a fine line between being confident and building off that, and thinking you're good.

“(But) I love the energy. These kids do everything full speed because they didn't know they were worth anything yet. Now, we've got to thwart the natural instinct to walk around like you've got it figured out.”

Temple plays at Magnolia West (1-0) – which beat Brenham 48-28 – at 7 p.m. next Friday, then has its home opener against 6A No. 11-ranked Arlington Martin on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium. Class 5A Division I No. 1 Denton Ryan overwhelmed Martin 47-24 in Friday afternoon's doubleheader opener at the Dallas Cowboys' stadium.

Temple didn't get off to an ideal start. Longview drove 75 yards on the game's opening possession, with star running back Kaden Meredith (248 rushing yards vs. Temple in 2019) breaking off a 27-yard run before Markevion Haynes bulled in for an 8-yard touchdown and a 6-0 Lobo lead with 3 minutes gone.

Arizmendi then came out firing, completing short passes to Harrison-Pilot on the first two plays and then two short passes to McDuffy before Temple punted. On Temple's next possession, Arizmendi's pass down the middle to tight end Ke'Andre Smith floated too high and far and was intercepted by safety Tyree Hale.

The mobile, strong-armed Harrison-Pilot – a second-team all-district free safety last year as a freshman – switched to quarterback on Temple's next possession but had a 2-yard run and a 5-yard loss before senior Aaron Wagaman's punt pinned Longview at its 7-yard line.

Harrison-Pilot (six catches, 35 yards) played receiver the rest of the game, and the Wildcats got going early in the second quarter, taking over at the Lobos 38. The small, speedy Tr'Darius Taylor caught Arizmendi's right-side pass at the 22 and used quick moves to break a tackle and run in for a 38-yard touchdown and a 7-6 Temple lead after the first of Wagaman's five extra points.

Peoples then stripped the ball away from a Longview player and junior linebacker Faylin Lee recovered at the Lobo 34. Temple's offense then stalled at the 9 before Wagaman's 26-yard field goal created a 10-6 lead midway through the second quarter.

Longview went back ahead by marching 63 yards on its ensuing drive, capped by standout sophomore receiver Jalen Hale's 5-yard touchdown catch on a fade pass from Landyn Grant – who split the snaps with fellow sophomore Jordan Allen as part of Longview's ongoing quarterback competition – in the end zone's back-right portion for a 13-10 Lobos edge 2:07 before halftime.

At that juncture, there was no clear indication of what would unfold after the halftime intermission.

“In the third quarter, the momentum shifted real fast,” Arizmendi said.

Said Stewart: “Momentum is a finicky mistress. When it starts going against you, sometimes it's hard to stop it. And when you get it going for you, you want to do anything you can to keep it rolling.”

Temple began the second half with the ball and Arizmendi completed two quick passes to Harrison-Pilot before Howard ran for 8 and 14 yards. That set up McDuffy's 10-yard touchdown reception of Arizmendi's deft fade pass to the back-right corner, giving the Wildcats the lead for good at 17-13 only 2 minutes into the third.

Grant fumbled on Longview's next offensive play and Jayven Taylor made the recovery on the Lobos 25. Temple drove to the 4, then Allen sprinted across in motion and got open on the right side to easily snare Arizmendi's pass for a 4-yard TD and a 24-13 advantage.



TURNING THE TABLES: Temple defender Marshall Grays started as a sophomore in last year's 41-10 Class 6A Division II first-round playoff loss at Longview, which put up 534 yards on the Wildcats' defense. In Friday night's season-opening rematch at Arlington's AT&T Stadium, the junior outside linebacker/strong safety made an interception late in the third quarter and returned it 28 yards to set up Temple's third touchdown of the period. The Wildcats collected four turnovers in their 40-13 victory that snapped the 26-game regular-season winning streak of the Lobos, who were ranked No. 3 in 5A Division I. (Photo by Greg Wille, TempleBeltonSports.com)



Longview then drove to Temple's 25, but the well-placed Grays easily picked off Grant's crossing pass at the Wildcats 15 and gained 28 yards on the return. Along with committing four four turnovers, the Lobos were hindered by 17 penalties for 144 yards.

Howard then sprinted past Longview's secondary to haul in Arizmendi's lofted pass for a 36-yard gain, and with Temple consistently pushing the pace Howard got open again on the next snap to catch Arizmendi's 19-yard touchdown pass for a 31-13 lead with 3 minutes left in the third.

“It was our gameplan and knowing what they run,” Arizmendi said of attacking the Lobos' defense. “They were very tired. I knew (the fast tempo) would work.”

“I was real proud of our offense and how we executed in the second half, not just going for the home run ball all the time,” Stewart said.


CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES: Temple junior running back Samari Howard rejoices after catching a 19-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Humberto Arizmendi during the third quarter of the Wildcats' 40-13 victory Friday night over Class 5A Division I No. 3 Longview at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. That came one play after his 36-yard grab. (Photo by Matt Corley, Temple ISD/Special to TempleBeltonSports.com)


The Wildcats didn't necessarily need to score any more points on offense, but their defense didn't stop there. Temple downed Wagaman's rolling, 53-yard punt at the 1 with 7:20 left in the fourth, then Jayven Taylor – the Wildcats' second-leading tackler last season behind now-sophomore linebacker Taurean York (13 tackles vs. Longview) – grabbed running back Ladaylon Jackson in the end zone and dropped him for a safety, making it 33-13.

Another defensive score served as the opener's exclamation point. With 3 minutes left, Grant fumbled again and Peoples – another Wildcats defender who as a sophomore got thrown into the proverbial fire in the one-sided loss at Longview – recovered it and raced 28 yards for the touchdown, completing Temple's unexpected second-half rout.

“We have a lot of potential,” Arizmendi said. “We played a good game, but we've still got to go week by week.”

TEMPLE 40, No. 3 LONGVIEW 13

Longview 6 7 0 0 – 13

Temple 0 10 21 9 – 40

First quarter

Longview – Markevion Haynes 8 run (kick failed), 9:18.

Second quarter

Temple – Tr'Darius Taylor 38 pass from Humberto Arizmendi (Aaron Wagaman kick), 8:46.

Temple – Wagaman 26 field goal, 5:47.

Longview – Jalen Hale 5 pass from Landyn Grant (Antonio Onofre kick), 2:07.

Third quarter

Temple – AJ McDuffy 10 pass from Arizmendi (Wagaman kick), 9:54.

Temple – Luke Allen 4 pass from Arizmendi (Wagaman kick), 7:56.

Temple – Samari Howard 19 pass from Arizmendi (Wagaman kick), 2:51.

Fourth quarter

Temple – Safety; Jayven Taylor tackles Ladaylon Jackson in end zone, 7:13.

Temple – O'Tarian Peoples 27 fumble return (Wagaman kick), 3:13.

TEAM STATISTICS

First downs: Longview 16; Temple 14.

Rushes-yards: Longview 35-164; Temple 24-37.

Passing yards: Longview 156; Temple 213.

Completions-attempts-interceptions: Longview 16-26-1; Temple 21-28-1.

Punts-average: Longview 4-31.8; Temple 5-44.

Fumbles-lost: Longview 4-3; Temple 1-0.

Penalties-yards: Longview 17-144; Temple 8-66.


INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing – Longview: Kaden Meredith 16-91, Haynes 8-31, Ladaylon Jackson 5-20, Robert Vinson 1-10, C.J. Hopkins 2-8, Jordan Allen 1-2, Grant 2-2; Temple: Arizmendi 9-20, Howard 12-20, Thomas McVade 1-2, Mikal Harrison-Pilot 2-(-5).

Passing – Longview: Grant 11-17-1-109, Allen 5-9-0-47; Temple: Arizmendi 21-28-1-213.

Receiving – Longview: Hale 6-61, Justin Beltran 5-42, Amarian Hamilton 3-27, Haynes 1-17, Hopkins 1-9; Temple: Howard 6-70, T. Taylor 3-62, McDuffy 5-36, Harrison-Pilot 5-26, Allen 2-19.

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