|LONGVIEW - The surprising Lufkin Panther slicked for a fourth place finish, defeated the Longview Lobos, 27-0, to earn a share of the District 8-AAAA championship here Friday night.
The Panthers, who share the title with the Marshall Mavericks, will meet the Sherman Bearcats in bi-district play next week. School officials were to meet at 10:00 a.m. this morning in Mineola to work out the details.
Sherman won the 7-AAAA cron by beating Highland Park, 12-6, Friday night in Dallas. It holds a 7-2-1 season mark.
The Mavericks defeated John Tyler, 28-6, tome into a tie with the Panthers for the 8-AAAA crown. But Lufkin's 14-8 victory over the Mavericks assures them of a playoff spot. Both Lufkin and Marshall finished with 4-1 loop records.
The championship is Lufkin's 16 in football since the first won in 1936. Overall Lufkin has won ten outright titles and have shared six others.
The trip to the state playoffs will be Lufkin's 13 in football history.
It's the second championship in three years for head coach Guyle Akridge. The Panthers, under Akridge, tied in 1960 with John Tyler and Texarkana.
They won a toss flip for a playoff berth and then downed Garland, 7-6, in bi-district before losing to Paschal of Fort Worth in the quarterfinals.
Akridge is assisted by Dick Gardemal and Harold Pool, who also played a major role in bringing Lufkin the title.
A large crowd of Lufkin followers made the journey to Longview to see the Panthers annex the crown and complete their regular season at seven wins and three defeats.
The Panthers and Lobos battled on even terms for the fist period with Lufkin knocking on the door once.
Then the Panthers hit pay dirt with 8:43 left in the second period when quarterback Jerry Ferguson threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Robin Welch. Halfback Rocky Thompson kicked the extra point to climax a 56-yard drive in nine plays.
But Lufkin broke the game wide open in the final period as it scored three touchdowns to wrap up the game and co-championship.
They scored two touchdowns in the span of 65 seconds early in the quarter before wrapping ups he game with the final touchdown with fifteen seconds left.
All-State nominee, Bob Rice, completed a 26-yard drive in six plays with a three yard run with 10:34 left.
The touchdown was set up on a pass interception by end Bill Allen.
On the second play following the kickoff Bill Conrad swiped a Longview aerial on the Lobos' 42 and ran it back to the three. Then Hoyt Rogers plunged over the remaining distance with 9:29 showing.
Tony Murphy passed to Jesse Bradford for the two extra points to give Lufkin a 21-0 lead.
The Panthers drove 40 yards in ten plays for their final score.Bobby Faulkner climaxed the drive with a two-yard run with only 15 seconds left to play.
Lufkin drove to the nine yard line in the first period, but fumbled. The Panthers had driven from their own 26.
However, the Panthers regained possession moments later and drove for their first score.
The big gainer on the first touchdown drive was a 12-yard pass from Ferguson to end Gene Wilson.
Lufkin kicked off to the Lobos who drove from their 25 to the Panthers' 17. But that strong defensive wall, aided by Pete Crawford, pushed them back to the 21.
Moments later Allen intercepted a pass on Longview's 27 and ran it back to the 31.
A 16-yard pass from Ferguson to Welch set up shop on the 15. Thompson gained eleven to the four.
But the Panthers couldn't advance any further as a pass was intercepted.
Then in the late minutes of the third period Lufkin started its drive for touchdown number two.
The drive began on the Lobo 26, following Allen's intercepted pass. Short ground yardage carried the ball to the three where Rice swarmed through the Lobo defense for the touchdown.
On the second play after the kickoff Conrad intercepted another Loop pass to set up the third touchdown.
The final score as set up following a Thompson punt that went out fo bounds on the one-foot line. The Lobos punted on first down to their 40.This was followed by the final score with 15 seconds. A 20-yard pass from Murphy to Hugh Woolf set up the touchdown late in the drive.
The 27 points were the most registered against Longview this year. The Lobo were regarded as a defensive team. It was also the largest total and widest margin for Lufkin since 1958 when it beat Marshall, 36-8.
Lobo Coach Jim Gray substituted in platoon fashion like Paul Dietzel in an effort to stop the Panthers' furious attack.
The Panthers dominated possession of the ball. They carried the pigskin 53 times as compared to 22 for the Lobos.
Lufkin totaled 151 yards rushing and 109 passing for an overall of 260. The Lobos had 72 yards rushing and 36 passing for 108 total.
The Panthers led in first downs, 20-7. Lufkin completed eight of 16 passes while the Lobos hit four of 15.