|LONGVIEW - A tie is supposed to be like kissing your sister. It's nice but nothing to get excited about.
However both Longview and Lufkin should be content to pucker up after battling to a 10-10 tie Friday night at Lobo Stadium in a showdown of District 13-5A leaders.
Longview is 5-1-1 and 3-0-1 in district play while Lufkin is 4-3-1 and 3-0-1.
Should both teams win their remaining district games, the Lobos would enter the playoffs as the No. 1 team based of a 4-3 edge in penetrations.
But that was little consolation for Longview head coach Doug Cox, who teams had several chances to win the game.
An overthrown pass, a fumble at the Lufkin 8-yard line and a drive which stalled at the Panthers 17 ended three Lobo threats.
"You don't really know how to feel after a tie," said Cox.
Lufkin's Pat Culpepper undoubtedly was just as distraught. The Panthers missed scoring opportunities when they failed to score form the Longview 2-yard line and couldn't capitalize after recovering a fumble at the Lobo 32.
Lufkin's frustrations were magnified in the first half. The Panthers ran 36 plays to Longview's 13 but trailed 10-3 at the break.
The Panthers opened the game by marching from their own 32 to the Longview 2-yard line where they faced second-and-goal.
But John Jerke jumped offsides for five-yard penalty.
After James Flournoy gained two, a blitzing Jimmy Smith sacked Blake Parker for an 11-yard loss.
Matt Casper's 32-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
Longview ran only three plays in the first quarter but wasted little time in the second stanza.
David Henderson return a Lufkin punt 23 yards to the Longview 35 to open the second period. On the next play, Smith took a pitch left and broke through the Panther defense and sprinted 65 yards for the touchdown with 11:38 showing.
David Hill's PAT made it 7-0.
Smith finished with exactly 100 on 16 carries, his third straight 100-yard game.
Lufkin answered Smith's touchdown by marching 60 yards on 15 plays to the Longview 10. The drive stalled there and Casper booted a 28-yard field with 4:44 left to make it 7-3.
Longview retaliated quickly. Sparked by passes of 39 yards to Eric Faggett and 15 to Scott Combest, the Lobos moved to the Lufkin 22.
On second-and-eight Kirt Griffin, who threw for 111 yards, faked inside and lofted a pass for Scotty Combest who was wide open at the five.
But the pass dropped just inches over Combest's out-stretched hands and Longview ended up settling for Hill's 36-yard field goal, his first three pointer of the season and a 10-3 halftime lead.
Longview opened the third quarter with a bang when Griffin hit Ronalda Reese with a 46-yard bomb to the Lufkin 10.
Two plays later, Smith fumbled and Chris Henry recovered for the Panthers at the eight.
The Lobos threatened again after Henderson intercepted Parker at the Longview 40. On the ensuing play Griffin bootlegged around right end for 18 yards to the Lufkin 17, giving Longview it's 4-3 edge in penetrations.
But Griffin, who was sacked four times, was buried by Matt McCall on consecutive plays. Hill then missed from 47 yards.
Working primarily behind McCall and center Bobby Rice, Lufkin raced to Longview's 4-yard line and Flournoy, who finished with 106 yards, scored from there to cap and eight play, 70-yard drive.
Casper's PAT tied it with 8:51 remaining.
Longview then received a huge scare when the ensuing kickoff ricocheted off Todd Daniel and Brian Curtis recovered for Lufkin at the Lobo 32.
"I thought that was an omen that bad things were going to happen," said Cox.
But Alonzo Adams sacked Parker for a three-yard loss on first down and Parker misfired on three consecutive passes to turn the ball back over.
Neither team threatened until late in the game when Faggett ran for 15 yards to the Lufkin 34.
However, McCall sacked Griffin to end the threat that gave Lufkin a final chance.
Punter Mike Bobo ended that chance with a beautiful kick that was down at the Lufkin 1-yard line.
Longview travels to Marshall next week, while Lufkin is at Tyler Lee.