LONGVIEW - Wet and wild.
In weather more suited for ducks and webbed feet, Longview and Lufkin battled to a 7-7 District 13-5A draw after the Lobos missed out on a 24-yard field goal attempt at the game's end.
It was the league opener for both teams and Longview have a 2-1 edge in penetrations if a tie-breaker is needed to determine a state playoff berth. Both teams are 2-3-1 overall.
Penalties and fumbles plagued the Lobos, but a game-ending drive almost resulted in a victory. Quarterback Cory Hutchings, who scored with less than a minute gone at the beginning of the game for Longview's lone touchdown, kept the ball nine times in 10 plays to advance from the Longview 35 to the Lufkin three with 34 seconds left and scored on a run to the right pylon only to have a holding penalty move the ball back 10 yards.
After a second-down, five-yard pick up to the eight, Longview lined up for a field goal with nine seconds showing on the clock. A high snap from center prevented Cliff Harris from getting the kick off. Harris recovered the ball, but time ticked off the clock.
Longview was whistled nine times for 68 yards in penalties, including seven for 50 in the second half, which was played during a driving rainstorm. Lufkin had two infractions for 15 yards.
The Lobos also fumbled five times - a disturbing habit that as happened two weeks in a row - while the Panthers lost one of two.
Yardage wise, the Lobos held a big edge, 284-207, but it wasn't enough.
Lufkin could manage only five first downs and 71 yards rushing the last two quarters against the stiff Longview defense led by end Jeremiah Mathis, linebackers Victor Anthony and Dante Roberts, plus free safety Daydrion Taylor.
The game also pitted the district's top two rushers, Lufkin's Denvis Manns and Longview's Chris Butcher. Manns finished with 33 carries for 139 yards and Butcher 19 for 114.
Lufkin's closest threat in the second half came midway through the final period when it moved to the Longview 36. On a fourth-and-two, however, quarterback Jason Carter was stopped short and the Lobos took over, driving for the game-winning field goal attempt.
Lufkin's Michael James recovered both of Longview's lost fumbles.
Although Longview came out and scored two plays and 45 seconds after the opening kickoff, the first half proved nothing, either, when it needed in a 7-7 deadlock.
Taylor returned the kickoff 54 yards to the Lufkin 32 and two plays later Hutchings faked Butcher into the line and kept it around the left side and went 27 yards untouched for the touchdown. Harris added the point-after to make it 7-0 with less than a minute elapsed.
When the Lobos lost their fumble, halting what had been a drive from its own 25 to the Lufkin 34, the Panthers regrouped and marched back down the field later in the first quarter and early in the second period to knot the score.
It took a five-yard roughing-the-kicker penalty on a fourth-down, 33 yard field goal attempt though.
Manns, on the ensuing play after the penalty, took the ball on a pitch to the left but reversed his field when hit and spun around by a Lobo tackler and managed to score from 11 yards out with 1:21 into the stanza. It capped a 10-play, 69-yard march, and James Hathorn booted the PAT.
The scoring drive was set up when James recovered a Butcher fumble.
Butcher and Manns almost matched each other yard for yard in the first two periods. Butcher had 10 carries for 70 yards and Manns 20 for 76. Leeves had five receptions for 41 yards the first 24 minutes.
Longview treks to Nacogdoches next week to continue District 13-5A, play Lufkin plays host to Tyler Lee.