LONGVIEW - The football season came to a climax here Friday night for the Longview Lobos and Coach Ty Bain's crew has probably learned one solid lesson: it takes 48 minutes of playing to win a ball game.
The Lobos found the right key for 24 minutes - the final 24 and they almost opened the door to a come-from-behind victory over the Lufkin Panthers
Instead, the last minute burst failed to materialize and, as a result, the locals had to claim the short end of a 14-8 score.
But it was not all dismal for the several thousand of fans who braved cold weather to witness the final contest of the season. It was homecoming and pretty Sharon Ross was crowned homecoming queen prior to the game.
The defeat, a doubtful aspect in the late stages of the game, dropped Longview to a 5-5 won-loss record season wise and a 2-3 mark in family competition.
The Lobos, trailing 14-0, as the second half got started, used a stout defensive unit and a sparkling offensive machine headed by James Street, to almost pull off the victory. The defensive unit held the invading Panthers to only 18 yards on the ground in the second stanza and only 17 via the airways.
At the same time, the Longview carriers trolled for 144 yards on the ground and Street connected with a dozen passes to net an additional 104 through the air.
But the second half production was still not enough.
The Lobos opened the second half by holding the Panthers for four downs and forcing them to kick. Harold Bridges did a neat job of returning the punt for 20 yards before finally being pulled to the ground. He pulled the ball in on his now 29 and headed for the sidelines but a host of Panthers greeted him.
He politely reversed his field and found the necessary running room for 20 yards. From there, the Lobos paraded, in ten downs, to the score.
Glenn Cobb, the Lobos leading ground-gainer, started it with a six yard burst over the center. Interference was ruled against the Panthers on a Street pass to Mike Maberry and the Lobos had possession deep in Panther territory.
Four running plays by Cobb, Street and Don Stout netted 11 yards and Street took the airways again. This time he hit Maberry again for 13 yards to the 10.
On the following play, Street was heaved for a two-yard loss, but on the very next play, he found his favorite target, Maberry, for the tally. It was Street who hit the right side of the line for the two extra points.
Immediately following the Lobo kickoff, the hometown defensive team stymied the Panther offensive drive and forced the invaders to kick the ball.
Longview took possession on its own 14 and started a parade that almost produced a colorful finish for the hard-fought contest with Street and Cobb taking care of the ball-handling chores for the Lobos. The two shoved the Lobos to the Panther nine-yard marker.
But tiny Dick Sheffield spoiled the efforts when he intercepted Street's pass and raced 47 yards.
Even after that with the clock ticking off the final minutes, the Lobos kept their hopes alive. Again the defensive unit halted the Panthers and the Lobos took over but their efforts failed when the Panthers held.
But with less than a minute remaining, the Lobos got possession of the ball and moved it to the Lufkin 30 before the downs caught up with them.
Lufkin scored the very first time the Panthers got their hands on the ball. The 66-yard drive took 13 plays with Hugh Woolf climaxing the drive by bursting over from six yards out. Tony Murphy added the one point conversion.
And deep in the second quarter, the Panthers made the winning touchdown. Rusty Welch hit Jesse Bradford with a ten yard pass to climax the 69-yard drive.
Cobb was the game's leading yard-marker with 66 yards. Street also account dog all the 104 yards picked up by the Lobos through the air. Rusty Musser pull in eight of Street's passes for 56 yards.