|LONGVIEW - Amid the muck and mire of Lobo Stadium the underdog Longview Lobos wrote a blazing page in their long and illustrious gridiron history on a bleak, cold and wind-swept November evening here Friday as they slashed and fought their way to a startling 18-6 upset vicoty over the District 4-AAA champion Texarkana Tigers.
It was the first defeat in nine games for the Texarkana eleven, which ranked fifth last week in the state Class AAA poll, while the victory was the sixth for the Lobos against three defeats over the full season route.
The Lobos, who embraced the mantle of greatness after two heart-breaking conference losses, turned loose a crushing ground attack that bewildered the Tigers and awed a crowd of more than 3,000 that braved t he rain and cold to yell itself hoarse as the Longview eleven dominated the contest almost from the opening whistle in a rousing upset such as a few Longview teams have ever accomplished.
Longview threw only one pass all night - but it was good for one of the Lobos' three touchdowns - as the winners rolled up 217 yards rushing on the slippery gridiron. Rain fell intermittently during the contest but it wasn't enough to cool off the red-hot Lobos, who got better as the game progressed and were even pulling away from Texarkana at the finish.
It was the final district game for the Tigers, who finished the conference race with a record of three wins, one defeat and a tie. The victory was Longview's second in four district starts and elevated the Lobos into a tie with Lufkin for fourth in the standings.
There wasn't any fluke about the Longview triumph. The Lobos had 16 first downs to 15 for Texarkana, chalked up 217 yards on the ground to 160 for the Tigers, had 18 yards through the air to 27 for Texarkana and amassed a total net gain of 235 yards to 187 for Texarkana.
The jubilant Lobos hosted head coach Catfish to their shoulders and carried him off the field at the final whistle.
Texarkana coach Watty Myers gave the battling Longview eleven full credit for turning in the shocking victory, which blasted the hopes of the Tigers for finishing the season undefeated. "They were ready tonight," Myers said. "I doubt if anybody could have beaten them. I am thankful we got off as light as we did."
It took a recovered fumble and a pass interference penalty for the Tigers to even score their lone touchdown as they gained well enough in midfield but invariably bogged down in the face of Longview's determined resistance when the goal line of the Lobos was threatened.
The Longview victory was even more impressive in view of the fact that the Lobos achieved it without the services of any of their regular right guards. Chuck Wood, the usual starter at the position was out of action because of illness, while Guy Hammer, who has also seen some action at that post, was likewise sick and David (Red) Johnson was sidelined by a knee injury.
However, Jerome Walts and David Tutt filled in at the right guard slot and both turned in sterling performances.
Longview took the opening kickoff and marched 58 yards in 15 plays for the first touchdown of the game to set the pattern of the contest. The Tigers managed to tie the score in the second period but the inspired Lobos were not to be denied and drove for the touchdowns in the third quarter to clinch the clear-cut victory.
Tony Rothrock, Longview halfback and co-captain and the leading scorer of the Lobos, returned to full-time duty after being out with illness for the past two games and helped sparked the locals to victory by scoring two touchdowns. Fullback Dub Thomas blasted his way across for the other one to complete the use that everybody hoped would happen but nobody dared to predict.
After Pete Burks ran the opening kickoff back to the Longview 41-yard line, the Lobos quickly started marching toward pay dirt. With Thomas, Rothrock, quarterback Jerry Crawford and halfback Horace Johnson joining in the drive, Longview reeled off four first downs to reach the Texarkana two-yard line. From there Rothrock took a handoff from Crawford and ripped into the end zone to score.
The kick by Marvel Byrd, Longview tackle and co-captain was wide, leaving Longview with a 6-0 lead with five minutes and 22 seconds remaining to play in the first period.
Late in the first quarter, tackle Leo Vana recovered a Longview fumble on the Lobos' 49-yard line to set the stage for Texarkana's only touchdown. The Tigers picked up three first downs but Billy Joe Eric was smeared for a nine-yard loss at right end by Gene Martin, Curtis Lemmonds and Rex King to put the ball back on Longview's 35-yard line and relieve the threat.
On the next play quarterback George McKinney's pass intended for Erie was incomplete but pass interference was ruled against the Lobos, giving Texarkana a first down on the Longview 14-yard line. Erie picked up one yard at left tackle and McKinney then faked a handoff, kept the ball and slopped over right tackle for 12 yards and a touchdown with nine minutes and 24 seconds left to play in the half.
McKinney tried to hit right tackle for the extra point but failed and the score remained tied at the half, 6-6.
Midway through the second period the Tigers had a golden scoring opportunity but couldn't cash in on it. Eddie Danes recovered another Longview fumble on the 49-yard line of the Lobos and Texarkana ripped off three first downs to reach the nine-yard stripe of the Lobos.
At that point the Lobos put up the stoutest defensive exhibition of the game and in four plays the district champions were able to pick up only eight yards through the determined Longview line and the ball went over to the Lobos on their own one-yard stripe.
Rothrock immediately got the Lobos out of trouble when he stormed through right tackle and battled his way 30 yards up to the Longview 33-yard line.
Four plays later the Tigers had another chance when Daines recovered a fumble on the Texarkana 49-yard line but once again the Lobos were equal to the occasion as their sparkling defense held the tigers near midfield until the clock ran out to end the half.
The second half was all Longview as the Lobos started applying the pressure early and never did let up. Waits and Byrd pounced on a fumble on Texarkana's 37-yard line on the return of the second half kickoff and that was all Longview needed.
Following the recovery Burks hit left tackle for three yards and Rothrock slipped around right end for 12 more. Crawford and Burks added four on smashes into the line and Rothrock lost a yard at right end, leaving the Lobos with fourth down and seven yards to go on the Texarkana 18.
Then Crawford threw Longview's only pass of the night. He fired in the left flat to Rothrock, who took the pass not more than five yards behind the line of scrimmage, spun away from one tackle, reversed his field and raced into the end zone standing up for Longview's second touchdown with one Texarkana defender still clutching desperately to his jersey.
Burks was stopped on a line smashed at center trying for the extra point and the Lobos held a lead of 12-6 with nine minutes and six second left in the third quarter.
Longview missed a scoring opportunity of its own late in the third quarter when sophomore tackle Gene Pierece recovered a fumble for Longview on Texarkana's 20-yard line but the Lobos were unable to make any headway and were forced to punt.
It was one of two punts in the game, both by Longview, as the Tigers were never forced to kick.
The Tigers immediately started a drive back up the field and smashed their way to the Longview six. But there the Lobos came through with another dazzling defensive exhibition to hold for downs and once again stopped the Texarkana eleven . The Tigers did managed to pick up some yards through center but James Martin was thrown for a 10-yard loss to the Longview 15-yard line and on fourth down a pass from McKinney to Erie fell incomplete with the Lobos taking over.
From their own 15, the Lobos crushed Texarkana's hopes driving 85 yards in 15 plays for their third touchdown and to seal up the victory and end the game.
Thomas, Rothrock, Crawford and Johnson collaborated the steady march with Thomas ripping off 18 yards for the first gain of the drive as Longview scorched down to the Tiger 20. Thomas, showing a tremendous drive, blazed around end of 17 yards to the three and going over on the next play to score.
Byrd's placekick on the extra point was low but it wouldn't make any difference for the Longview eleven already had the decision safely tucked away.