LONGVIEW - Nacogdoches hardly lived up to its upstart reputation, but Longview's Gahlen Johnson certainly reestablished himself as one of the top backs in District 14-AAAAA.
All the stocky, muscular, 189-pounder did here Friday was rush for a school-record 210 yards and score three touchdowns, including one on a 68-yard jaunt, in a rousing 37-0 Lobo triumph over the Golden Dragons in the district opener for both teams. The win puts Longview, the defending league champion, in an early tie with other first-night victors John Tyler, Texas High and Marshall.
Johnson, who carried the ball just 21 times, broke the previous record of 197 yards set in 1973 by Mike Mock. Curiously enough, Johnson had picked up only 206 yards in the Lobos' first three games. But this time he went inside, as he did on his 68-yard scamper, outside for big gains and used his twisting and turning efforts to completely subdue the visiting team. He had 11 runs of eight yards or better.
"I guess district does something to me," said the obviously smiling Johnson in the dressing room moments after the game. "I want to go back to Texas Stadium (in Irving, where Longview played its bi-district game against Plano last season). These are the important games, anyway. I'm just glad I did something to help us win."
Nacogdoches, however, was left virtually lifeless after coming into the loop opener with a spotless 3-0 record and high hopes under first year coach Steve McCarty, who began his coaching career at Forest Park Junior High here in the mid-1960s. The Dragons, who were averaging over 22 points a game quickly received an indication how the night might be.
The Lobos mounted a march at their own 30, following a 'Doches possession to open the game, and drove the length of the field for the first score, a one-yard blast by Ronnie Hunter. But it was the way Longview moved down the field - a 16-play drive which consumed 7:32 of the clock. Two fumbles and a half quarter later, Longview led 16-0 and Nacogdoches had run only one play in a span of 13:36.
The outcome was not in question, only the margin.
Johnson got off to a good start in the first half with 83 yards on 13 carries, but the second half was all his. He carried only eight times but added 127 yards and two scores to his night's effort and left the Dragons in his wake. He had touchdowns of five, one and the 68-yarder with 11:04 left in the last quarter. He came in one last time, to net 14 yards and the rushing record.
In the meantime, however, Jessie Floyd converted a 27-yard field goal and three point after boots, Sammy Alex one PAT and Willie Thompson a one-yard score following a fumble recovery by Pat Collier at the Dragon two.
Nacogdoches had only one turnover, a fumble, coming into the game but left three fumbles on the ground, with Collier, Duke Brooks and James Ward recovering them, and suffered an deflected interception by Donnie Centers.
Hubert Douglas was Nacodoches' offense. Of the 136 total yards he had 119, all on the ground. The Dragons snapped the ball 44 times with Douglas carrying 21 times and serving as the intended pass receiver four times.