|LONGVIEW - After threatening often in the first half and being thwarted just as frequently, the Kilgore Bulldogs stormed to three touchdowns in the last half - two of them in the final period - to defeat the Longview Lobos here Friday night in a tense and hotly-contested battle, 18-14.
The victory, Kilgore's second in as many starts in the District 4-AAA race, left the Bulldogs tied for first place in the conference standings and stamped them as the most logical contender to fight it out with Texarkana for the district championship. It was Longview's first conference start and seriously jolted whatever hopes the Lobos have entertained for capturing the district title.
Once again fumbles proved extremely costly to Longview as Kilgore turned two miscues by the Lobos into the touchdowns that made the difference in the contest. Longview fumbled six times and lost the ball tot he Bulldogs on all but one occasion as the alert Kilgore eleven made the most of its scoring opportunities in the last half after repeatedly bogging down deep in Longview territory in the first two quarters.
The Lobos pushed across a touchdown the first time they gained possession of the ball to lead at the end of the first quarter was well at the half, 7-0. In the second half, however, it was an entirely different story as the Bulldogs jolted Longview with a strong running attack featuring halfback Forrest Johnson and fullback Joe Foster with the aid of some stout offensive work by Wallace Miller when it counted most.
The Bulldogs were handled by Longview with comparative ease in the first half but Kilgore wasn't to be denied in the last half as the winners kept the Lobos on the run throughout most of the last two periods.
Co-captain Tony Rothrock and fullback Dub Thomas each scored a touchdown for Longview while co-captain Murvil Byrd converted a pair of extra points.
Johnson, Foster and Miller chalked up a touchdown apiece for the Bulldogs, who missed all three of their attempts at extra points, but as it turned out they weren't needed.
The Lobos received a scoring opportunity early in the first quarter and immediately cashed in on it. After Longview kicked off to Kilgore to open eh game, the Bulldogs failed to gain and were forced to punt. However, Johnson fumbled the snap from center on fourth down and when he recovered, his kick went only seven yards out of bounds on Kilgore's 39-yard stripe.
It took Longview 13 plays to travel the 39 hard-earned yards after that. In three smashes at the line Thomas and Rothrock picked up a first down on the 27-yard line and Rothrock, Thomas, Horace Johnson and quarterback Jerry Crawford collaborated to make another first down on the Kilgore 14.
Thomas, Rothrock and Crawford alternated in carrying down to the two for another first down. Crawford hit center for one yard and then Rothrock went over left ankle from the one for a touchdown with four minutes and 36 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
With Rothrock holding, Byrd place-kicked the extra point to give Longview a 7-0 lead.
Kilgore had a golden scoring chance a few minutes later but it bogged down in the face of some brilliant defensive play by Longview. Billy Rogers returned the kickoff after Longview's touchdown 51 yards to the 31-yard stripe of the Lobos. In two line plunges Johnson picked up a first down on the Longview 15 and then Johnson and Milled moved the ball to the seven-yard line of the Lobos but a fourth down pass from quarterback Baron Clements to Ralph Bassett fell incomplete and Longview took over possession of the ball on its own seven.
The Bulldogs had another fine scoring chance early in the second quarter but once again Kilgore couldn't muster a goal line punch when the Lobos threw up their iron-clad goal line defense. Alvin Gilbert recovered a fumble for Kilgore on Longview's 29-yard stripe and the Bulldogs pushed on down to the 14 only to be thrown back as the Lobos swarmed in to repulse the threat.
With the ball on the 14, Bud Wilson was thrown for a three-yard loss at left tackle and on fourth down Johnson tried a sweep at left end on a variation of the statue of liberty play but Pete Burks and Rex King cracked through to throw him for a six-yard loss and Longview took over on his own 25-yard line.
During the first half the Lobos chalked up seven first downs to three for Kilgore, although the Bulldogs held a two-yard edge in yards gained, 68 to 66. In net yardage for the first half, however, Longview led, 88 to 62.
The Bulldogs used a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half to score their first touchdown. Bill Humphrey recovered the fumble on Longview's 11-yard stripe to set the stage for Kilgore to strike and, with the air of a clipping penalty on an incomplete fourth down pass that enabled the Bulldogs to retain possession of the ball instead of losing it, they moved to a touchdown in five plays.
After the Lobos had limited Kilgore to one yard in three plays Clements' pass to Johnson in the end zone fell incomplete on fourth down but the Lobos were penalized to their own one for clipping and on the first play after that Johnson went over right tackle standing up to score. The try for extra point failed when Clements fumbled the snap from center and Curtis Lemmonds recovered the loose ball for Longview, leaving Longview with a 7-6 lead.
The Bulldogs threatened again late in the third quarter without scoring. Foster got Kilgore out of a dangerous hole when, from his own 11-yard line, he broke over left tackle for 43 yards and the Bulldogs drove on down to Longview's 11 before a fourth down pass from Johnson to Miller in the end zone was incomplete and the Lobos still clung to their narrow 7-6 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Five plays before the end of the period a 25-yard pass from Clemments to Johnson put the winners in position to score their second touchdown on the second play of the fourth period.
The pass gave Kilgore a first down on Longview's 20 and Foster went over from the one to score. Johnson's place kick on the try for extra point was wide to the left but Kilgore was in the lead to stay.
The Bulldogs hit again with four minutes and six seconds remaining in the game when Bill Gumert recovered another Longview fumble on the Lobos' 43-yard line. Miller and Johnson needed only nine plays, with Foster aiding on one line smash, to hang up a touchdown when Miller barged over from the two-yard line standing up. Boots Cashell blocked Danno Drennan's placement on the try for conversion as Kilgore lead, 18-7.
After taking the ensuing kickoff the Lobos needed just two plays to score their seconds touchdown. Crawford hit Tony Rothrock with a pass that was good for 45 yards and a first down on Kilgore's six-yard line. Thomas went over left tackle from three on the next play for a touchdown that required only 57 seconds. Byrd kicked the extra point with three minute and nine seconds left in the game but that wasn't enough for the Lobos to pull the contest out of the fire.
Longview did gain possession of the ball one more time and turned to the air in an attempt to strike for the winning touchdown but the Bulldogs were equal to the occasion and as the game ended recovered a fumble on Longview's 11 to rub out the lingering hopes of the Lobos.