|LONGVIEW - The Lufkin Panthers spotted Longview even points before coming back to take a 14-7 victory here Friday night to wrap up a share of the District 8-AAAA championship.
Texarkana, who downed Tyler Lee 30-6, and John Tyler, which beat Marshall 36-6, are the other two principals in the triumvirate atop the loop. All boast 4-1 records in district play.
Lufkin's win over Longview put an end to several trouts which have been haunting the Panthers and Coach Guyle Akridge.
It clinched the city's first district crown since 1954 and the first AAAA title ever. It also ended two years of beatings Lufkin has suffered to Lobo elevens.
In 1958, Longview dumped Lufkin 62-0. They pasted the Panthers 47-6 last season.
Although a tri-championship will be declared in the district, only one team can represent 8-AAAA in playoff competition. The representative will be decided today in Longview way virtue of a coin toss.
For a while Friday night the Pack seemed to be in danger of losing their chances to tie for the championship, as Longview scored in the second quarter to take a brief 7-0.
Lufkin came back to score a touchdown before the half, but failed on try to run the PAT and trailed, 7-6, when the second quarter ended.
However, they added another touchdown and a safety in the third period to run the score to 14-7 in their favor.
First score in the ball game belonged to the Lobos. They took over on downs on the Longview 33 and drove the remaining 67 yards in 14 plays.
Fullback Don Petty plunged over from the three to score, then tacked on the PAT kick to give Coach Jim Gray's crew its 7-0 margin
Lufkin' initial touchdown was set up by a dazzling 39-yard punt runback by halfback Billy Ballard.
The Lobos, facing fourth and three from their own 12, sent Myers back to kick. Ballard caught the ball on the 44, waited for his blocking to form, and light-footed down the sideline to the Lobo five.
Charles Alexander then went for one and Murl Standley for two before Ballard carried the ball across from the two on a slant play off left tackle. PAT try failed and the score was 7-6.
Bryan Applefield took charge in the third period in a personal vendetta to get the Pack into the lead. After a Lufkin drive stalled on the Longview 43, Appliefield placed a punt almost perfectly sending it to rest on the Lobo three.
Petty moved for two to the five before halfback Nolan Smith tried to go wide around Applefield's side of the Lufkin defense.
Applefield was having no part of it, however. He broke through to tackle Smith in the end zone for a Lufkin safety and give them an 8-7 cushion.
The Panthers did not settle for a mere one-point win though. They took Longview's kickoff after the safety and moved 44 yards to score again on nine plays, with Cue Boykin covering the final tee with a clutch run.
Lufkin faced a fourth down and four situation on the Longview 10 and Boykin went back to pass. Finding himself trapped on the right side, he came back to the left and 10 yards later, scored.
With the Panthers leading 14-7, Longview received the kickoff but the Lufkin defensive line, led by Calvin Scarbrough, Kenneth Roach, Joe Clarke, Cullen Reynolds, Dennis Marshall and Curtis Van Schoubroek, contained them after they had moved from their own 30 to the Lufkin 23.
Reynolds, who stayed in the Lobos' hair all night, broke through on more than one occasion to trap the ball carrier.
Boykin, Ballard and Applefield all stood out in the Lufkin defensive secondary in addition to their starring roles on offense.
Boykin led all rushers in average gain per carry with 37 yards in seven plays for a 5.3 average.
Ballard almost returned two punts for touchdown, one for 33 yards to the 13 and another for 39 yards to the five.