TYLER - The Longview Lobos spotted Tyler a 3-point lead and then caught fire in a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter for an 8 to 3 victory over coach Johnny (Red) Stidger's big blue Lions here tonight; but all they succeeded in doing was to remove the last obstacle between the Texarkana and the District 8-AAAA title.
The victory assured coach Catfish Smith of his best conference record in his tenure in Longview. However, Texarkana's comeback in the last half Friday night to defeat the Marshall Mavericks 14 to 6 clinched for the Tigers a district co-championship and the right to enter the taste playoff two weeks hence.
The Lobos gave up a field goal in the second period here tonight and for a spell it looked as if it might be the only score in the game. It was the Lions only serious scoring threat but the Wolves, playing on a sloppy, soggy field, looked deader than a cigar-store Indian throughout the first half and that three points loomed large because it came before the Lobos had even registered a first down.
It was "1, 2, 3 kick" just like in dancing school for the first quarter as the two clubs slogged it out in the mud, not midway though the second quarter, the Lions broke the deadlock. A 33-yard pass from quarterback Jerry Richardson to halfback Taylor Thomas put the ball on the Lobo 20. Three plays moved it to the 12 and on fourth down John Van Orden sent a field goal attempt straight and true and it had just enough stuff to carry over the cross bar. The boot did not clear the bar by more than a foot but it was enough to put the Lions into a 3 to 0 lead. That looked like a million dollars at 15 per cent interest for a long time.
The Lobos got a shot in the arm just as they came back onto the field to resume play in the third quarter when the public address system blared out the news that Marshall was holding Texarkana to a 6-6 tie at the half.
The Wolves attack looked considerably sharped in the third period and in the fourth it got to rolling. Mutt Heller kicked out on the Lobo 43 to end the third period and the Lobos moved to the Tyler 7 before the Lions' defense stiffened and took over on downs. Heller kicked again but this time Douglas Bruner took the ball on the Tyler 45 and raced to the 23 before the Lions were able to field him. That started the fire.
On the next play Ray Chancelor took a pitchout from Bob Abney, circled wide around right end to the sidelines and slashed his way to the 1-yard line before he was hauled in. He went into the end zone but the officials ruled a knee touched down on the field of play. Then Abney handed the agate to Bruner, and the hustling little halfback bored through the right tackle into the end zone for the touchdown with just 6:10 left in the game. Abney rifled a shot to Mike Clark for the 2-point conversion and the scoring was all over.
The Longview win was made the more frustrating by a false rumor which swept the stadium shortly after the game was over. The 6-6 halftime score in the Texarkana-Marshall game had of course been announced, but while newsmen were getting their stories under way someone brought in a report that the Mavericks had upset the Tigers, 14 to 6. Such a result would have left the Wolves a clear track to the title, but unfortunately the reports of Texarkana's demise like those of Mark Twain were exaggerated.
The Lobos' win Friday night, however, was probably their finest this year.
The chips were down, the field was lousy, they were playing catch-up for a large part of the game, but still they never quit. They knocked at the door once as the fourth quarter got under way and had it slammed in their way on the T. But when they got possession of the ball again everybody in the ball park knew it was going to be a stem-winder right down to the wire.
The climax came even more quickly than anyone expected. Longview gave the ball to Chancelor and that young boss brought things to a speedy head by taking it all the way to the 1. Nobody doubted at that point in four downs the fired up Wolves, having generated the head of steam they were working under, could score. Bruner on the next play set at rest whatever doubt remained.
The Wolves need a win over Lufkin next week to finish as co-champions of the district, but since Texarkana already has a 3-1 record and defeated Longview in their meeting, the Tigers will represent the district in the state playoffs.