LUFKIN - Gene McClain, a will of the wisp, 140-pound substitute wingman, took his place alongside of Longview's football immortals of other years by setting up the Lobos' only scoring opportunity of the ball game which set the stage for the Green and White's thrill packed 7-6 triumph over the rugged Lufkin Panthers. The victory, witnessed by 10,500 fans, earned the Lobos the right to meet Breckenridge.
It was a dramatic third quarter pass from Red "Slong Shot" Stucky to the fleet little end which carried the ball from Lufkin's 38-yard line to within the shadows of the Panther's goal posts.
After the invaders had outclassed Lonview in the first two quarters of the game, Amy Rogers recovered a Panther fumble on Lufkin's 42-yard stripe just four plays after the start of the second half. Joltin Jimmy Pakenham cracked off tackle for two yards then Ed Roach swung downfield to the 38 on an end round play. That made it third down coming up and still five yards needed for a first.
Maco Stewart inserted the fleet footed McClain in tot he lineup at this point and the strategy paid off as Stucky hit him with a perfect pass on the 22, and the speedy end wiggled and squirmed his way down to the enemy 3. Pakenham took three cracks at the line before gaining the six pointer. Fox Cashell calmly split the uprights for the point and Longview led 7-0.
Rain started falling at this point, and a few of the fans who figured the scoring was over for the day started for home, but Lufkin had other ideas. They came roaring back into the game and had a score in the seven plays as all-state candidate Paul Williams delivered the coup-d'etat with a dazzling 34-yard prance for the score.
L.C. Cook, reserve back, attempted to pass for the extra point, but the youngest was over anxious and he tossed the ball out of the end zone.
Strangely missing Saturday afternoon were the charges of the "Lucky Lobos." The fans have come to realize that Longview is a team which plays conservatively and for the breaks. It's a far cry front the wide open, razzle dazzle football most Texas teams use but it's sound football and winning football.
Longview threatened mildly in the initial quarter when Williams got off his poorest kick of the day - a 28-yard floater which died on the Panther 41. Pakenham picked up 13 yards in two tries, then Stuckey moved tot eh 27 on a handoff. Stuckey's pass to Buddy Terry dripped through the wingman's fingers on the 14, then the "Sling Shot"was smeared for a 11-yard loss which nullified the threat.
A moment later, Rogers recovered a Williams fumble on the Lufkin 26, but Longview couldn't gain and Rogers punted out on the visitors 12-yard line.
The Piney Woods boys started chopping at the Lobo line late in the initial frame and carried from their won 20 tot he Longview 40 when Benton Musslewhite filled the air with completed passes. But Musslewhite went reeling out of the game with a painful shoulder injury early in the second quarter and Lufkin's hopes died momentarily with his exit. Hamp Johnston got inside the Longview 20 when he hit Williams with a pass on the 17, but Bob Muston came roaring into the secondary to throw Williams for a 9-yard loss with took the sting out of the enemy drive.
They threatened once more in that same period when Tommy Hubbard ripped away for tremendous gains which were finally stopped by the Big Green's line 17 yards short of pay dirt.
Longview kicked to start the second half, and gained possession of the ball two plays later when Williams fumbled. The alert Rogers scooped up the loose pigskin, and the Green and White went to work. They had their touchdown just moments later.
In taking the measure of the heavily favored Panthers the Lobos uncovered one of Texas' all-time great schoolboy centers in rangy Don Menasco. Talked of all year as a sure fire bet from an all-state berth, Menasco played another of his truly brilliant games to send the 10,500 fans home singing his praises. The purple Panthers' Charley Driver, a guard sensation, was second only to Menasco on the line.
Stars were dime a dozen on the stingy Lobo Stadium turf Saturday afternoon. Pakenham, Anglin, Muston - who filled in admirably for the injured Algie Callahan, Rogers, Barton, Cashell, Eaves, Roach, Terry, Fuller and the rest were the men of the hour for a Longview team which wouldn't be licked.
But Longview will long remember this boy Menasco. He stopped Lufkin drives cold on several occasions, blocked viciously to air the ball carriers, intercepted pass and did just about everything - or more - that one could ask of a 17 year old high school kid. His all-state cohort Jimmy Pakenham handled the team like a professional. The Jolter was in on many plays and there were a few times when his sensational line backing meant the difference between a win or a loss.
And too, it was a brawny cow-puncher named Bobby Anglin who came crawling out of a sick bed to turn in the greatest line game of his two-year varsity career. He teamed with Jimmy Eaves to present a solid rock forward wall which wouldn't quit when the chips were down.
As is usually the case, Longview was badly outdistanced statistically. The Angelina county eleven racked up several times the Longview yardage on the ground and in the air, but they still pay off on the score, and that 7-6 figure is the one which counts.
Then after the Panthers rolled 70 yards in seven plays for their touchdown, Longview settled down to play they typical conservative game. At the final gun, Lufkin was filling the air with passes in a desperate attempt to score, but once more it was Menasco who put out the fire by interception one of Williams' heaves on the Lobo 32. The game ended two plays later.
Driver, Cole and Lord were outstanding on the line for the losers while Williams and Musslewhite sparked the running fireworks. Vernon Redd also showed up well for the Purple Panthers.
It would be impossible to list Lobo stars. Menasco overshadowed every player on the field. But Bobby Anglin, Eaves and Anderson and especially Muston were brilliant performers up front for the winners.