LUFKIN - The defense of Lufkin's football team was magical on Friday. It was magical because it continues a hex on the Longview Lobos.
Lufkin's defense shut down Longview in the second half, and set up the winning touchdown in Lufkin's 16-13 win over Longview before 9,000 spectators at Abe Martin Stadium. Lufkin's hex was extending a winning streak over the Lobos to 11 games, which stretches back to 1999.
The most important defensive play was with 2:45 left, when Terr'l Mark intercepted a pass by Longview quarterback to David Larsen that was deflected. Mark returned the interception 18 yards to the Longview 12-yard line. Three plays later, Jabroski Smiley took a Jeremy Claybon screen pass and went seven yards for a touchdown with 1:09 remaining.
Longview (0-1) had one late chance to score, as Travrus Brown returned the ensuing kickoff 57 yards to the Lufkin 45-yard line. Two plays later however, De'Marquez Freeman intercepted a Lewis pass with 39 seconds remaining to ice the win for Lufkin (1-0).
Longview's defense and good fortune kept the Lobos ahead for most of the second half. Lufkin drove to the Longview 5-yard line on its second drive of the second half, but on a fourth-and-one play, James Davis dropped a potential Claybon touchdown pass in the end zone.
Lufkin also drove to the Longview 15-yard line with 7:36 left in the game, but the Lobos ended the drive when Longview's Cody Morrow stripped the ball from Will Christopherson and Dontray Nelson recovered the fumble.
Lufkin had four fumbles, losing three as Nelson, Roderick Anderson and Dacorris Ford had recoveries. Claybon had 200 yards passing, while Tre'von Lewis had 97 yards rushing for Lufkin.
Longview took advantage of Lufkin mistakes to take a 13-3 lead in the first half, although Longview had the first mistake of the game. Lufkin's Darrius Terry intercepted an underthrown pass by Lewis at the Lufkin 3-yard line with 1:10 left in the first quarter.
On the next play however, Davis was stripped of the ball and Ford recovered the ball at the Lufkin 24-yard line. Two plays later, Lewis redeemed himself with a 23-yard touchdown strike to Brown, an impressive pass and catch considering Brown was well covered.
Lufkin drove to Longview's 21-yard line on its next drive, but the Panthers had to turn the ball on downs when Longview defensive end Cordarren Solomon sacked Claybon.
Longview took that momentum and marched 62 yards, capped by a three-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Mark Johnson with 3:45 remaining in the first half. The score remained 13-0 as Zach Decker's extra-point attempt was wide left. Lufkin got on the scoreboard with 10 seconds left in the first half on a 40-yard field goal by White.
Longview renews its rivalry with Marshall next Friday at Marshall.