LUFKIN - Trailing at the end of the first quarter by two touchdowns and still behind at the half, 14 to 7, the defending District 4-AAA champion Lufkin Panthers staged a sizzling second half rally to score four touchdowns and defeat the Longview Lobos here Friday night, 35 to 32, in a wild-scoring game that ended with the Lobos bitterly protesting the refusal of referee Ross Yeary to call timeout at Longview's request because of an injury, with the Lobos on Lufkin's 18-yard line with 15 seconds remaining in the contest.
As quarterback Jerry Crawford hit halfback Boots Cashell for 22 yards and a first down on the Lufkin 18, Longview halfback Tony Rothrock was injured on the play and the Lobos rushed to the officials asking for time out while pointing to the injured Rothrock.
Yeary refused to grant the request for time and repeatedly yelled, "I don't believe that guy is hurt," while allowing the clock to tick off the final seconds.
Fullback Dub Thomas picked Rothrock up in his arms and carried him to the sidelines while Longview tried to get the play underway with only nine players available for action, but time ran out before the ball could be snapped.
Head Coach Catfish Smith ran onto the field at the finale whistle to protest Yeary's refusal to call time but the officials left the field with no explanation other than that they did not believe Rothrock was injured.
After the Longview halfback had been carried to the sidelines by Thomas other players on the sidelines helped him to the Longview bench just as the final whistle sounded.
Longview coaches were not alone in their protest against the refusal to call time and Longview fans milled angrily around the field for some time after the game was over.
Longview led at the end of the first quarter 14 to 0, and at the half 14 to 7, and in the final periods the teams put on one of the most spectacular offensive exhibitions East Texas footballs has seen in many years as they scored seven touchdowns in the last half, five of them in the last quarter.
Each team made five touchdowns, but the margin of the Lufkin victory rested with the educated toe of Ronnie Pat Durham, slender 127-pound quarterback of the Panthers, whose sparkling passing also played a big part in the Lufkin victory. Durham booted five consecutive extra points for the winners while Longview could convert only twice.
The Lobos managed to hold Lufkin's ground attack in check throughout most of the contest but they could not stop Durham's passes when they damaged the Longview cause the most.
Fullbacs Pete Burks and Thomas scored a touchdown each for Longview along with halfback Horace Johnson, end Curtis Lemmonds added two others. Murvil Byrd converted twice from placements for the Lobos.
Jerry Fuller carried a pair of Lufkin touchdowns while Billy Davenport, John Nations and Durham himself account for the other three.
A Lufkin fumble on the first play of the game from scrimmage gave the Lobos a scoring opportunity almost before the echo of the opening whistle had died out. Co-captain Murvil Byrd recovered the Panther's fumble on the Lufkin 37 and Longview marched to a touchdown in nine plays.
After three running plays picked up five yards, quarterback Jerry Crawford for 13 yards and a first down on the Lufkin 19 after a Lufkin defender barely tipped the ball and deflected it straight into Johnson's hands. Fullback Pete Burks and halfback Tony Rothrock collaborated on a first down on the Lufkin 7. Crawford then slammed over center to the four and on the next play Burks powered his way over right tackle to score with 7:25 remaining in the first period. Byrd kicked the extra point to give Longview a 7-0 advantage.
A blazing 53-yard punt return by halfback Boots Cashell led to Longview's second touchdown later in the first quarter. Rothrock took Fuller's punt and handed off to Cashell who appeared to be trapped deep in his own territory but he broke free and raced to Lufkin's 32 before he was finally pulled down by halfback John Nations.
A 23-yard pass from Crawford to Cashell gave the Lobos a first down on the Lufkin 7. Burks and Johnson each picked up 3 yards and then Johnson plowed over right guard from the 1 for Longview's second touchdown with 3:12 left in the first quarter. Byrd again booted the extra point and Longview led at the end of the period, 14 to 0.
The Panthers apparently hanging on the topes, finally fired up their offense and drove 63 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Mickey Tolbert and Nations ate up most of the ground yardage during most of the drive to reach Longview's 15 from where Durham's pass found Fuller in the open on the goal line and he stepped across to score. Durham converted from placement to cut Longview's lead to 14 to 7 10:10 deep into the quarter.
The Lobos later in the quarter marched to Lufkin's 35-yard line but stalled there and the Panthers took over on their own 20 after Crawford's punt.
With Durham's pacing them, the Panthers started a drive that advanced to Longview's 11-yard stripe in the fading minutes of the half. At the 11, however, the Lobos staged a terrific defensive performance to hold for downs and push Lufkin back to the Longview 20 when Byrd threw Durham for a 9-yard loss on fourth down.
The Panthers began to break the game wide open early in the third quarter as a pass interception by Ray Davis halted Longview the first time they got the ball in the second half, and the play actually may have been the turning point of the game.
Davis intercepted Crawford's aerial on the Longview 49 and the Panthers immediately drove to their second touchdown. Two passes from Durham to Joe Johnson and Fuller accounted for 31 yards, the second going to Fuller for 20 yards and a touchdown. Fuller took the ball while wide open on the 10 and went over untouched. Durham converted to tie the score at 14-14 with 4:32 gone in the third quarter.
Lufkin struck for another touchdown late in the quarter after Davis recovered a fumble for Lufkin on the Longview 43. With Nations, Fuller and Tolbert setting the pace, the Panthers marched to Longview's 7-yard line from where Durham on a keeper play went over right tackle to score his first touchdown of the season. Durham again obverted to put Lufkin ahead for the first time, 21 to 14, with two minutes left in the quarter.
The wild fourth quarter produced five touchdowns as both teams put on a dazzling offensive show that left the crowd of some 3,000 fans breathless.
The Lobos drove 59 yards in six plays for a touchdown in the opening minutes of the last period. A 23-yard jaunt by Dub Thomas and another for 16 by Johnson enabled Longview to reach the Lufkin 4. Thomas ripped off right tackle for the score on the next play. Byrd's kick was wide on the try for the conversion, leaving Lufkin ahead 21 to 20.
Two plays after the ensuing kickoff, a 75-yard pass play from Durham to Billy Davenport gave the Panthers their fourth touchdown. Davenport took Durham's pass on his own 45 and went the rest of the way untouched. Durham booted his fourth straight conversion to put Lufkin in front, 28 to 20., with 10:27 remaining.
Longview bounced right back in eight plays to go 61 yards for the Lobos' fourth touchdown. Two passes from Crawford to end Curtis Lemmonds ate up 48 yards, the second good for 25 yards and the score. Lemmonds made a sensational catch in the end zone for the touchdown. Crawford'a pass was high and the Longview end was being closely pressed by a Lufkin defender but Lemmonds took the ball over his head like an outfielder while shaking loose his opponent. Byrd's kick on the attempt at conversion was again wide and Lufkin led 28-26, with 6:35 remaining.
The Panthers, however, matched that touchdown with another of their own the next time they got the ball. A 48-yard pass form Durham to Davenport gave Lufkin a first down on the Longview 13 before he was chased out of bounds by Randy Williams and Cashell. Two plays later, Nations went over left tackle from the 3 to score and Durham again converted to put the Panthers in front 35 to 26.
With 1:47 left, Byrd recovered a Lufkin fumble on the Panthers' 47-yard line. A pass from Crawford to Rothrock gave Longview a first down on Lufkin's 18, and on the next play Crawford fired a pass to Lemmonds in the end zone for a touchdown. Byrd's placement kick on the try for extra point hit the uprights and bounced away to the left with one minute left in the game.
On the next kickoff, Ed Buckner covered an onside kick for the Lobos on the Lufkin 40 with 53 seconds left.
After three passes fell incomplete, Crawford connected on fourth down to Cashell for a first down. But the officials allowed the clock for un out while the Lobos tried vainly to call timeout.