LUFKIN - Longview and Lufkin, 1947 kingpins of the East Texas football picture, battled to a thrill-packed 13-13 tie before 6,500 avid grid fans who overflowed Panther Stadium here Friday night.
In a game stacked solid with every thrill in the book, each of the two powerhouses refused to be beaten. It was mainly a battle of the offenses as first one team and then the other lugged the ball from one end of the field to the other.
Maco Stewart's Lobos looked terrific the first time they got possession of the ball. Lufkin won the toss and elected to kickoff. Captain Melton Lord's placement was gathered in by Tom Kent on the Lobo 30 and Kent returned 10 yards to his own 40. On the first play from scrimmage, shifty Gene Hardin took a handoff from Kent and broke off tackle for 26 yards. Hardin stumbled and fell jut as he was about to break into the clear. Jim Nelson crashed over guard for seven, then Sonny Jones picked up a first down on the Panther 22. Hardin gained four in two tries then Fox Cashell battered his way down to the one yard line with one of the most exciting gains of the evening.
The Lobo halfback appeared to be stopped on two occasions but he bulled his way by plain brute force, all the way to the one. On the next play from scrimmage Cashell cracked off tackle to score standing up. He calmly added the extra point and the 1,500 Longview fans in the stands went wild.
But the cheering had hardly died down before the Piney Woods eleven came roaring back to add a score of their own. Leon Pinkerton, a 175-pound plunging fullback, took Cashell's kickoff on his own 10 and raced up field to the 35 before Sonny Jones nailed him. Pinkerton and Jack Weeks then paced a sustained drive which rolled up five consecutive fist downs and brought the ball within the shadows of the Lobo's goal posts. The two Lufkin backs ripped off huge yardage through the inexperienced Longview forward wall before Pinkerton sailed over from the 3-yard marker. Billy McCall was sent into try for the point, but Pat Collier, Mark Brewton, Larry Skipper and Dick Hurst came roaring in to block the kick.
Lord kicked off once more for the Angelina county eleven, and his wobbly boot hit a Longview linesman and glanced crazily back toward the onrushing Lufkin team. Lord,w ho turned in a great game at guard, raced in and recovered the ball and it was the Panther's first down and 10 yards to go from the Lobos 46-yard line as the quarter ended.
Once more Pinkerton and Weeks, aided by Charley McIntosh and Joe Walker, cracked the Longview line to shreds as they marched toward the Lobo goal. Walker in particular stood out on the drive. He carried three times in succession after the Panthers reached the Lobo 27. On his third try the elusive quarterback wormed his way 17 yards to the Longview 2-yard stripe where Pinkerton plunged over for the tally. McIntosh kicked what later proved to be the tying point.
Longview threatened again just before the end of the half, but the rally died on the Panther 8-yard line. Cashell sparked the scoreless drive with two magnificent runs of 22 and 24 yards each. A Kent to Jackie Bell pass on the eight-yard marker was just shy of a first down and Lufkin took over.
The third saw the teams stiffen and enight squad was able to penetrate the other's 30-yard line. Larry Skipper recovered a Panther fumble on Longview's 32 to stymie a Lufkin offensive push late in the third period.
Joe Walker brought the huge crowd to its feet early in the fourth stanza when he romped 75 yards to a touchdown after he was apparently trapped for a huge loss as he attempted to punt. The pass from center glanced off Walker's shoulder and he had to race back to his 29-yard line to pick up the ball. Five Lobo lineman had a shot at the speedy halfback, but no one could bring him down. Walker half ran, half stumbled his way around the left side of the line before he picked up his blockers. He burst out into the clear on the Longview 40 and went over standing up, but the entire play was nullified and Lufkin penalized for having a back in motion on the play. A clipping penalty was also called further downfield to further nullify the touchdown.
McCall then lifted a lazy spiral to Cashell who took it on his 35 and returned six yards to the 41. The Lobos were stopped cold and Cashell booted to Walker. The shifty safety man took the leather on his 21 and raced back 20 yards before Collier and Tommy Bufkin nailed him to the turf. His aerial was intercepted by the alert Tom Kent who went speeding up the sidelines to the Lufkin 41 before the Lufkin safety man knocked him out of bounds. The hard running Kent almost broke loose.
Kent immediately opened up a passing attack which featured burly Earl Williams on the receiving end of his tosses. A short pass into the flat gained 13 yards as Williams ran to the Lufkin 25 with less than five minutes remaining.
Then with Lufkin evidently expecting another pass, Kent crossed them up by handing off to Hardin on the same play which set up the first touchdown. The 163-pound jitterbug halfback exploded through tackle as if he was shot from a cannon. Once into the secondary, Hardin twisted and squirmed his way down through a host of Lufkin defenders - finally going down on the one-yard line. Once more the Lobo rooters yelled themselves hoarse.
Hardin immediately took another crack at the line on first down, but he failed to gain. Then Kent handed off to Jim Nelson who took a flying swan dive over the line scrimmage and plunged into the end zone.
Cashell had a chance to "make lightning strike twice in the same spot," but the badly tired youngster dramatically missed his opportunity. In the bi-district contest last fall, it was Cashell's point after touchdown with gave the Lobos their 7-6 margin of triumph over Lufkin. Here was the stage set once more for a point victory. Darrell Cox snapped the ball back from center. Nelson placed it down and Cashell came through with a lofty placement which floated toward the goal posts. It veered steadily to the left and missed the goal posts by two feet and both teams seemed content to settle for the tie.
The game ended less than 2 minutes after Sonny Jones' ensuing kickoff - a tremendous boot which went all the way to the Panther two-yard line.
There was no comparison between the Lobo line in the first and second half. Coach Stewart and Wilson "Swede" Dees seemed to have found a correction for the loose line play which highlighted the first two periods. It is significant that Lufkin never got within the Lobo 30-yard line the entire second half.