|LONGVIEW - Longview played indian giver here Friday night in Lobo Stadium. In the first half, the Lobos appeared ready to give a victory to the Lufkin Panthers as turnovers, breakdowns and sloppy play in general helped the visitors take a 21-14 lead at intermission.
But in the second half, Longview took the game back and registered a 33-21 trump to the delight of a capacity homecoming crowd.
It was the most points the Lobos had scored since their 35-14 victory over Fort Worth Trimble Tech in the second game of the year. It was also the Panthers largest offensive production of the year.
Longview, though, helped the Panthers score most of their points.
The first half, in particular the second quarter, Longview couldn't seem to get untracked.
A missed passing coverage led to a 68-yard Lufkin touchdown from quarterback Jerome Darks to running back Shane Dixon. A shanked punt led to a short Panther scoring drive and a blocked punt to another touchdown.
However, the second half was a completely different story.
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, or maybe Oral Roberts, seemingly gave the Lobos their halftime pep talk because the state's ninth ranked team healed itself and rambled past its upset minded opponent.
Longview limited Lufkin to just 64 total yards, 33 rushing, in the final half and four first downs, one on a penalty. Meanwhile, the Lobos, who upped their record to 6-1 and 3-1 in District 13-AAAAA play, received touchdown runs of 4 and 92 yards from Joe Johnson and a 1-yard plunge from Clyde Boyd.
Johnson, who rushed for 193 yards on 23 attempts, tallied the first touchdown of the half with a 4-yard scamper to cap a 5-play, 30-yard drive with 5:17 left in the third period. Jason Baird's extra point tied the game at 21.
Early in the fourth period Boyd, starting at fullback in place of injured Clifford Powell, scored the eventual game-winner when he swan dived over left tackle from a yard out.
However, the game was still much in doubt, when Baird's PAT attempt sailed wide and Lufkin's offense began to move.
The Panthers marched downfield and had first and 10 at the Lobo 10.
But on fourth and four from the 4-yard line, the slippery Darks rolled right as in right into Charles Smith and Gantry Faggans for a 2-yard loss.
One player later, Johnson took a pitch left and picked up blocks from Harris and Mike Adams and jetted into the end zone for a 92-yard play - the longest of his career.
Longview obviously had recovered from its offensive woes which had haunted the Lobos the last two weeks. On their second possession, the Lobos marched 75-yards in 12 plays and scored on Harris' 10-yard pass to Smith.
Lufkin, though, came right back when Darks faked into the line, pulled up and hit Dixon who was wide open. He outran the Longview secondary to the end zone and David Jones' extra point tied it at 7.
That's when Longview appeared to self-destruct.
Glenn Moore fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Lufkin claimed it at the 11. Fortunately, for Longview, the Panthers couldn't move and Jones missed a 28-yard field goal try.
But Longview netted minus 15 yards on three plays and Phillip Blaschke's short punt was returned to the 21. Six plays later, Dixon scored from the 1 and Jones added the extra point.
Longview's next possession was unsuccessful and again Blaschke was called on to punt.
This time John Hackney blocked it and Tony McFarland recovered at the 3. After an illegal procedure call Darks hit Cedric Polk with a 8-yard scoring strike. Jones' extra point made it 21-7.
The Lobos took advantage of Harris' arm to save face in the second quarter. Harris connected with Brett Payne for 15 yards and to Johnson for 22 to help move Longview to the Lufkin 9-yard line. Then he teamed up with Smith for their second touchdown pass. Baird's PAT made it 21-14 at the half.