LUFKIN - With the non-district slate wiped clean by the beginning of District 15-5A play, defending loop champ Longview started by wiping out a major obstacle here Friday night.
The Lobos overcome threw fumbles in the third quarters as well as Lufkin's vaunted passing attack to post a convincing 23-7 victory at Abe Martin Stadium.
The win was the Lobos' fifth in six games and left the Panthers, who were 1-9 just a year ago, at 4-2.
Longview turned the ball over three times in four possession in the third period, but a stiff defensive effort shut down highly-touted Lufkin quarterback Jason Carter, who came into the game as East Texas' leading passer with over 1,100 yards and 12 touchdown passes.
A 6'0 junior, Carter hit just seven of 22 passes for 109 yards and was picked off once, Carter's longest gainer of the night was a 36-yarder on the last play of the game.
Longview's defense was paced by fee safety Daydrion Taylor, who intercepted two passes, one a halfback toss by Denvis Manns, along with ends Tony Bracato and Thomas Norris, linebacker Wardell Glaspie, cornerback Horace Woods and linebacker Kendrie Nichols.
The Panthers' lone score came in the opening quarter after a Longview mishap at its own one-yard line.
Longview, despite the fumbles - four overall - churned out 260 yards rushing and controlled the ball most of the game.
Tailback L.V. Fite had 112 yards, backup tailback Chris Butcher had 71 and a touchdown and quarterback Cory Hutchings had 57 and two scores, including one with 4:24 left in the game.
He sprinted 13 yards to cap a six-play, 51-yard march. It was the Lobos' longest scoring drive of the game.
In the first quarter, the ball belonged almost exclusively to Longview - it had possession for 8:01 - but the lead belonged to Lufkin, 7-6.
The Panthers scored two plays after a bad snap from center handcuffed Longview punter Darren Danielson and he was brought down at the one-yard line. Lufkin's Kenya Taylor dived in on second down with 7:02 left and James Hathorn added the extra point.
Ironically, it was another bobbled ball, on a punt return, which enabled the Lobos to light the scoreboard for the first time.
Brad Pierce, covering the return, fell on the fumble and 11 plays, 43 yards and 5:31 later, Chris Butcher scored from the one as time expired. Danielson, though, missed his first PAT of the season in 10 attempts.
On Longview's ensuing possession, after the defense held Lufkin without a first down, Danielson capped a six-play, 22-yard drive with a 36-yard field goal - his personal best and third straight successful boot - with 7:14 remaining in the half.
Continuing their dominance, the Lobos took the ball once more and drove 47 yards in seven plays for another touchdown, and a 16-yard lead, after Hutchings kept and went in up the middle from six yards out with two minutes left in the half.
Next week, Nacogdoches visits Longview.