LONGVIEW - Kenny Frazier and Terry Pirtle instituted their two-minute offenses and thrilled a crowd of 7,500, the largest of the season, Friday night with some pressure passing antics. For Pirtle and Pine Tree, unfortunately, the clock just seemingly ran out. For Frazier and Longview, fortunately, they were able to take the last gasp and a 13-7 triumph.
The win was the fourth in as many games between the crosstown rivals and keep the mythical city championship in the hand of the Lobos for another year, but only after Frazier and wingback-defensive back Donnie Centers performed some last-ditch feats.
Longview finishes its 1981 campaign at 8-2, but a game shy of the District 14-AAAAA championship it captured last season, while Pine Tree closed out at 4-6, with a string of ever so narrow losses behind it.
Centers, who caught five passes for 93 yards and both Lobo touchdowns, came up with a defensive gem at his own two-yard line when he picked off a Pirtle pass and returned it 32 yards to the 34, giving Longview one last vain attempt with the score knotted at seven and only 2:13 left on the clock.
Frazier was more ready to tackle the task at hand. He needed only seven plays and 1:17 to cover the necessary 66 yards, the game-winner to Centers for 36 yards with 56 seconds left on the clock. Frazier hit on four of five passes, the last three to Centers, and made his assignment look relatively easy. Jessie Floyd's point after kick was wide, but the Lobos were in front, 13-7.
Pirtle, however, came back to show the maddening throng some of his last-second heroics, too.
Pirtle, a junior, connected on only three of his seven passes in a drive which began at the Pirate 29 and ended at the Lobo 13 as the time ticked off the clock. Mark Smith latched on to two of the passes, including the final one, but was swarmed by the Longview defense and did not get out of bounds.
The last tow minute probably seemed like an eternity but there was finally time to catch a breath.
"Kenny is just a super little passer," said a smiling Longview head coach Doug Cox after the victory. "He's a great precision passer. Lots of time he had more of their people around than ours, but he was calm.
"I'm sure Pine Tree is proud of their kids, but I'm proud of ours too."
The 13-7 nod was Longview's narrowest margin of victory in the four-game series with the Bucs and left Pine Tree fans with hope maybe the Pirates are ready to be reckoned with in AAAAA action. Of Pine Tree's six losses this season, one was by seven points, one by three, one by eight and Friday's six-point deficit.
Longview took the opening kickoff and moved the ball 74 yards in 13 plays, using up 5:39 of the clock, for a quick 7-0 lead but the Pine Tree defense took over and kept the Lobos' rushing attack at bay the rest of the night. Longview had 35 yards on the ground in the initial drive but managed just 51 the rest of the way against an aggressive Pirate defense led by Dewayne Mapes, and the brothers Hawkins, Dana and Tony.
Gahlen Johnson was the Lobos' leading rusher with just 40 yards on nine carries and his running mate, bullish Ronnie Hunter, contributed just 37 on 15 attempts.
And while the Pine Tree defense was doing its job, Jay Earnhardt and Delbert Flournoy were doing their best to even things up on the scoreboard. Earnhardt ground out 113 yards on 22 carries to finish this year with 1,038 and Flournoy had 89 on 12 toes to pace a 296-yard output and a 123-yard edge in the final statistics.
"I didn't think they could run on us like they did," said Cox flatly.
Moving the ball strictly on the ground, however, Pine Tree moved in for the tying score with 1:35 left in the third quarter, snapping a 10-quarter Buc scoreless streak against the Lobos. Tony Hawkins carried the final 10 yards but it was Earnhardt - 16 yards - and Flournoy - 24 yards - who carried the load. The march covered 62 yards, consumed 4:15 and took nine plays. John Sim's extra point tied the score.