LONGVIEW - The Lufkin Panthers unceremoniously relegated Longview to the cellar position in the final District 8-AAAA standings by dumping the Lobos, 19-0, here Friday night in the last game of the season for both clubs. The victory booted Lufkin into a tie with Texarakna for second place, each with two wins and two defeats, while Longview finished conference play with no victories, three defeats and a tie.
The Panthers relied almost exclusively on the fine running of fullback Jerry Merriman and halfback Karl Lemke to score two touchdowns in the second quarter for a 13-0 lead at the half and then finished up with another score in the fourth quarter.
It was only the third time in three seasons and the second time this year the Longview eleven has failed to score.
The offense of the Lobos sputtered and stalled completely as the Lobos made only two first downs in the game and netted just 39 yards rushing - a new low for the season - while not completing a forward pass in eight attempts.
The Longview eleven actually wound up with a gain of only four yards for the game, in as much as the Lobos lost 35 yards on five penalties. They picked up a total of 75 meager yards during the contest but Longview backs were thrown for losses amounting to 36 yards to leave them with their net of 29.
The Longview club, plagued by injuries and illness all season, was without the services of Guard Jerome Walter who was sideline with a leg injury, while tackles Gene Pierce and George Hogan saw only limited action because of illness.
Merriman punched across for two of Lufkin's touchdown, both of them from the one-yard line, while Lemke scored the other on an all-yard slant off tackle. Quarterback Ronnie Pat Durham booted one extra point in three attempts for the Panthers.
Durham, whose aerials shot have been one of the chief offensive thrusts for Lufkin this year, had trouble with his passing and completed only two in six attempts for 20 yards.
Fumbles hurt the cause of the Lobos as they bobbled the ball four times and the alert Panthers recovered on three occasions, turning one of them into a touchdown.
Longview made only one scoring threat when the Lobos reached the Lufkin nine in the opening period of play but otherwise the offense of the Lobos made no headway whatever. It wasn't so much a case of resistance on the part of the Lufkin line that butted up the Longview attack as it was simply that the offense of the Lobos wasn't clicking. Their pitchouts frequently went astray and their blocking never did get started effectively.
It simply wasn't Longview's night and the Panthers were quick to take advantage of the Lobos' mistakes.
Longview got a bright scoring opportunity early in the first quarter when Merriman, back to kick, received a low snap from center and his partially blocked punt went out of bounds on the Lufkin 28, five yards back of the line of scrimmage. Burks, Moore and Bolger collaborated to pick up a first down on the Lufkin nine, but two straight penalties for backfield in motion set the Lobos back to the Lufkin 19. Three running plays netted Longview only one yard and the Panthers took over on their own 18-yard line after Merriman batted down Bolger's pass to Duncan in the end zone.
The Panthers marched 73 yards for their first touchdown with four minutes and 13 seconds remaining in the half. After Robert Gillocks punted to Lufkin's 27-yard line, Merriman and Lemke started hammering the Longview line and, helped by a 20-yard gallop by Durham, the Panthers pushed down to the one of the Lobos from where Merriman on fourth down rammed over right guard to score, Durham's kick on the try for extra point was wide and low, leaving the Panthers in front, 6-0.
Before the half, however, the visitors turned a Longview fumble into another touchdown. Payne recovered a bobble by the Lobos on Longview' 38-yard line and after twor inning plays by Merriman and Lemke got a first down Durham hit Lemke with a 15-yard pass to Longview's 11-yard stripe. On the next play Lemke took a handoff from Durham and slammed over left tackle standing up to score, Durham booted the extra point.
In the first half Longview picked up only one first down and just 10 net yards while the Panthers had 11 first downs and 152 net yards from scrimmage.
Late in the third period the Panthers launched a 66-yard march that gave them their third and final touchdown on the first play of the last quarter. Once again Merriman and Lemke, this time helped along the way by the sharp running of halfback Jim Childers, were the big guns for Lufkin. Merriman zipped over left guard from the one for the touchdown. Durham's kick on the extra point attempt was wide.