LUFKIN - Longview made the fleet legs of all-state candidate quarterback Steve Judy to a 35-20 victory Friday night over the Lufkin Panthers to remain unbeaten, untied and captured the District 8-AAAA championship.
You could almost hear the strains of "Happy Days are Here Again" among the Longview fans.
Coach Tommy Hudspeth's Lobos left Lufkin with only 20 points on the scoreboard and went home with the championship football. The football that was used so much in Friday night's game was awarded to the winner in league play.
The Lobos will meet Dallas Richardson in a bi-district game next week. Time, date, and site will be announced sometime Saturday. Richardson defeated South Garland 35-6 in a district zone playoff at Garland Friday night.
Of course, all of Longview was watching the game or t seems that was because the crowd was the largest ever to crowd, ride, run and crawl into Panther Stadium.
Lufkin may have some individuals who were not whipped. But as a team, the Panthers were whipped by the No. 2 ranked football team in the Lone Star State.
Longview, improving with every game, had a total of 461 yards and Lufkin managed to make 268 as the Lobos win their 10th straight game of the season, and the 12th game in a row which dates back to November 4th, 1966. The Lobo winning streak started with Texarkana. The victory over Lufkin was the third straight victory over the Panthers by a Lobo team.
Quarterback Judy, 172-pound senior, scored four touchdowns on runs of 14, five, 18 and three yards. He attempts 15 passes and completed seven for 88 yards. The ace field general carried the ball 11 times for a net of 92 yards. His running was the finest of the year. This lad is truly one of the great quarterbacks in the Lone Star State and by far the best quarterback Longview has had in years.
Ten straight victories tied the record of the 1947 team that won the district championship outright. It was a sweat victory for Coach Hudspeth, as head boss for the Lobos, in his first year at Longview. But winning is a habit for this great football coach. His McKinney Lions last year played in the championship AAA finals against Bridge City.
This is the first district championship for the Lobo football team to win outright since 1947. The Lobos tied for the championship in 1958 and 1959 but did not play in a bi-district game.
This is also the third straight year for a team in district 8-AAAA to win all league games. Texarkana won the championship in 1965 and Marshall walked away with the crown in 1966.
The Lobos fans, bless their hearts, showed more school spirit Friday night than has been shown in 10 years. The Lobos went into the dressing room trailing 20-14. But when the team returned to the gate of the stadium, they found several hundred Lobo fans on the playing field that had formed a giant victory line. The entire east side of the stadium, filled with Lobo fans, stood and applauded the football players for several minutes.
The Lufkin team had 12 points on the scoreboard before the Lobos really came to and realized they were in Panther Stadium. Coach Hudspeth said early in the week that the Panthers would be sky high for the game but no one really thought they would be as high as they were. But 12 points didn't shake the Lobos one bit. They played like real champions and nearly scored another touchdown before halftime but the clock ran out no them.
It was fullback Rodney Hill in fact that demonstrated the Lobos were out to be district champions. Hill, 165-pound senior, caught the Panthers sleep and dashed for 74 yards (longest run of the season) from the Lobos 26 for a touchdown that gave the Longview team a 35-20 lead with only 11 minutes left in the final chapter. That touchdown run was the reinsurance touchdown and the Lobo fans literally went wild with cheers.
The Lobo coaching staff must be commended for a great job of coaching here Friday night. The coaches worked like champions and the Lobos came through as the new No. 1 team in the heart of Longview fans. Longview fans stand up and be counted.
Ralph Blount of Longview kicked off to the Panthers and Steve W. took the ball on the 22 and returned it to the 33 to set up the first touchdown of the night for the Panthers.
In 19 plays, fullback Bobby Mitchell plowed over the left side of the line from one-yard out for the touchdown. Wingback Kenneth Harris try for the two-point conversion failed.
Bob Hughey kicked off to the Lobos and Miller fielded the kick at the 26 and returned to the 45. But on fourth down, the Lobos were stopped and forced to punt. Lufkin took over on their own 17.
A total of six plays and the fired up Panthers had six more points on the scoreboard when Mitchell went over from the four with 3:58 to go in the first quarter. Quarterback David Alexander's run for the two points failed.
Bob Hughey footed the ball and this time tailback hill took the pigskin on the 15 and quickly dashed to the 35 to set up Longview's first touchdown. From the 35 quarterback Judy called his gang together and pushed the ball to the 40 for a gain of five, and then tailback Hill found an avenue wide-open and went to the 46 for the first down.
Fullback Ray Wright went over right tackle to the Panther 46 and then on the next play Hill was stopped for a loss back tot eh 50. But on the next surprise play tailback Hill took a handoff from Judy and the talented athlete went to the right and sailed the ball down field into the arms of Ralph Blount. When Blount finally was caught, he was at the Panther 14 yard line and had gained 36 yards.
Quarterback Judy took the snap from center David Cox and twisted his way through the Panthers into the end zone from 14 yards out for the touchdown with 1:36 left in the first quarter. Blount added the extra appoint to make it 12-7 in favor of Lufkin. But the touchdown gave the Lobo fans time to jump to their feet to gain a little exercise.
Blount kicked off to the Panthers and the Lufkin squad took over on their 20. On fourth down Wayne Durhan punted from the 26 so the Lobos took over on their 31.
The Lobo fans started yelling, "we want a touchdown!" They got it. Fullback Ray Wright carried two straight times for a first down on carries of five and 11 yards to the Lobo 47. Then on the next try Judy carried for a gain of one. But the Lufkin players tried to rough Judy up a little and drew a 15 yard penalty. When officials finally walked off the distance, the ball was officially placed on the 37-yard line of Lufkin.
From the 37 tailback Hill broke loose like a wild stallion and was finally tackled at the 24. However, his cleats had marked off 13 yards. Wingback Sid Sistrunk on three straight carries took the ball to the 11 on tries of two five-yard runs and a three-yard jumper. On the next play Judy went over right tackle to the side and on third down and one needed for a first, he went into the end zone from five yards out for the touchdown and not one Lufkin player made a tackle at him. With 7:11 to go in the second quarter, Blount added the extra point to give the Lobos a 14-12 lead.
The Lufkin team got a big break when a Lobo back fumbled the ball on a pitch-out at the Lufkin 43 and Charlie Thiedeault recovered the loose ball for the Panthers. Three players later they had six more points on the scoreboard. But the big gainer was 2 8-yard penalty against the Lobos for pass interference, from the Lobo 47-yard line to the 19. Quarterback Alexander passed to Boby Hughey for a touchdown with 1:17 left in the second quarter. Alexander's pass to Kenneth Harris for the two-point conversion was a good and the Panthers had a 20-14 lead.
So the Panthers kicked off to the Lobos and Jim Cobin fell on the off-side kick at the Lobo 47 yard line.
Quarterback Judy on the first play passed to Joe Miller for a 12 harder and Judy on the next play sailed a pass into the arms of Blount at the 29 yard line for a gain of 11 yards. Miller's catch was good for 12 yards. Then on the third play Judy went to the air again and this time Gene Portley caught the ball at the 11 for a gain of 18 yards. With only seconds left, Judy's next two passes failed and the Lobos went to the dressing rooms trailing by six points.
The Longview High School band and Viewttes against stole the halftime show with their precision marching. The Viewettes' drill performance was superb.
But that halftime talk by Methodist layman Hudspeth gave the Lobos that needed fire and the Lobo fans forming the giant victory line changed the grid picture in the second half. It was all Longview and the Panthers knew it.
Hughey kicked off and Donnie Carroll took the ball on the nine-yard line and returned to the 28. In eight big plays, quarterback Judy plowed into the end zone from 18 yards out with 8:26 to go in the third quarter for a touchdown tot i.e. the game at 20-20. Blount kicked the extra point and the Lobos had a 21-20 lead and never were behind again in the contest. Two big gainers in the touchdown drive were tremendous. Judy's 28-yard run from the Lobo 35 to the Panther 37 broke the Lufkin football players' back. Then Judy on third down from the 33 and needing six for a first down passed to Blount for 15 yards to the 18. The drive covered 72 yards, seven plays, and three first downs. That's a mark of champion football club when you can score like that.
The Lobos took over for another touchdown drive on the Longview 36 after Wayne Durham had punted the ball from the 28 of Lufkin on fourth down.
The Longview team looked sharp as a razor blade in the drive. Wright, Portley, Hill Judy, and Blount were the big boys in the drive in the backfield. Judy went in for the touchdown from three yards out with 34 seconds remaining in the third chapter. Blount's kick was good to make it 28-20.
Wright made carries of eight and four yards to the Lufkin 27. However, on the next play, the Lobos were charged with a 15-yard penalty that put the ball back at the Lufkin 40. Judy on two passes hit Rodney Hill and Blount carrying the ball to the 12. Then on the second play Judy found room at the right side of the line and with some fine blocking from his teammates he went to the one-yard line. But on the next play, Hill was caught by a host of Panthers and was pushed back to the three. But on the next play Judy went into the end zone for the touchdown.
The touchdown that the Lobos loved was when fancy stepping Rodney Hill sailed 74 yards in the fourth quarter with 8:31 to go to really break up the Panthers. It was enough to make the Lufkin team cry. It was a big black eye for a Panther defense that had shown lots of spark all night. Hill took the ball from Judy at the 26 and he twisted and scissored his way through the Panthers like a woman shopping at a bargain basement sale. He bumped into a few wagons but it didn't stop him as he went all the way untouched. Blount added the extra point to make it 35-20.
Fullback Ray Wright was the leading ground gainer for the Lobos. He carried the ball 15 times for a total of 93 yards and his longest gain with 12 yards. Rodney Hill was the third best rusher on 11 tries for 77 yards.
The victory certainly must be contributed again as a team effort and all players must be commended for the sportsmanlike conduct that was shown on the playing field. At no time did any player receive a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct of the Lobo team.