NACOGDOCHES, Texas — In the battle for a quarterfinal crown, the Lufkin Panthers and Longview Lobos had a close game on Saturday at a filled Homer Bryce stadium. This contest was not meant for the weak at heart, for in the midst of back-and-forth scores, multiple callbacks and flags, and an epic rivalry, the Lobos pulled through with a scraping win of 33-32.
“It’s unexplainable,” said junior running back Jessie Anderson, who came back for this game after recovering from a broken wrist. “I didn’t think I would be able to come back with my team, and I was.”
The Lobos opened the scoring with a touchdown five minutes in, as well as another with a minute and a half left in the quarter, ending the 1st with a lead of 13-0. The Panthers, however, took over the second quarter with a field goal early on and a touchdown by Jaylen Polk at the 6:47 mark, closing out the first half with a close follow-up to Longview of 13-10.
The second half got off the ground fast with a Lufkin interception followed quickly by a touchdown, pulling the Panthers into the lead. Quarterback Haynes King answered for Longview, throwing his third touchdown of the day making the contest a 3-point game again. The third proved to be a quarter of interceptions for the Panthers, as they completed another with only 1:46 of the quarter left, allowing for an opening touchdown in the fourth.
With a blocked punt by Lobo Jephaniah Lister, it led to another sequence of scoring from both sides, and a final interception by the Lobos to secure the win with 11 seconds left.
The final quarter of the match was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish as Kamden Perry, received the final 28-yard touchdown from King for Longview in the final minute of the intense matchup.
“It takes a day or two to settle all this down and enjoy it, then going to work against next week’s team,” Longview cornerbacks coach Chris Lashley said about heading into the semifinals. “It’ll be a battle no matter who we play.”
Longview will play Waco Midway on December 16 in Allen, making it to the semifinals for the first time since 2010.
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