Ex-Lobo to be honored for key role in Longview-Lufkin rivalry
Sept. 19, 2013 at 10 p.m.
Heading into Friday, Nov. 17, 1967, Steve Judy and his teammates knew they were going to be in for a battle.
On the other side of the field stood the Lufkin Panthers.
"Any time that Longview and Lufkin get together, it's going to be a big game," Judy said. "Especially back when I played when we were in the same district, we knew it was going to be a hard-fought game."
Beyond just another meeting with a bitter rival, a win would give the Lobos its first playoff berth in two decades.
"We had to beat them to make the playoffs, back then only one team made the postseason, not four like it is now so it was either make the playoffs or it was nothing," Judy said. "We had to win that game or we would be 9-1 and stay home."
Behind four rushing touchdowns from Judy, the Lobos emerged from Panther Stadium with a 35-20 win, completing the undefeated regular season.
"We had a good team overall, we were solid on defense and had a good running back," Judy said. "It was a great feeling to know that we had done something that hadn't been done in a while. We were all elated and excited about it.Unfortunately, we may have been too excited heading into bi-district."
For adding his chapter to the storied history between Longview and Lufkin, Judy will be inducted into the Great American Rivalry Series Hall of Fame tonight before the 74th meeting between the two foes.
"I'm taken back by the honor – it's been quite a few years, I'm glad someone still remembers," Judy said. "As Coach (John) King told me more about the series, I realized it was a pretty neat award and I'm very honored to receive it and appreciate all the people that nominated me for it."
A lifelong Lobo, Judy and his teammates were aware of what squaring off with Lufkin meant to not only the team but to Longview.
"There was a lot of hype heading into that game," he said. "The whole town got behind the team, all the businesses had Lobo banners up -- it was a pretty big week.
"The chance to make the playoffs for the first time in 20 years added to the pressure and hype of it all."
As a sophomore at Longview, Judy was the backup quarterback behind James Street before taking the starting role in 1966 and 1967.
Judy was a blue-chip recruit as a senior, garnering collegiate interest from across the country and ultimately continued his football career at Texas Christian University.
At that time, freshman weren't allowed to play on the varsity squad and Judy won the starting role as a sophomore after squaring off with the likes of football powerhouses Purdue, Ohio State, Miami and Penn State among others during his first year as a Horned Frog.
"It was a pretty hefty schedule," Judy said. "Back then, Texas and Arkansas were the big teams in the conference so we faced some very good teams."
As a starter, Judy became the first TCU quarterback in 34 years to pass formore than 1,000 yards, a mark first set by Sammy Baugh. He was also the first quarterback in 30 years to throw more than eight touchdowns in a season – breaking Davey O'Brien's record with 12 scoring strikes as a senior in 1969.
"We were able to throw the ball well that year and it was nice to break some of those records," Judy said. "We finished 5-2 on the year behind Texas, who won the Southwest Conference with a 6-1 record."
Judy graduated from TCU in 1971 as the Horned Frog's all-time leading passer. His 2,209 passing yards over 22 games still ranks 17th on TCU's all-time list and he was inducted into the TCU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985.
With another hall of fame induction to add to his storied football career, it is the 1967 edition of the Longview-Lufkin classic that still sticks out to Judy today.
"That game meant everything – first playoff berth, 10-0 regular season and for me to be able to run for four touchdowns and to contribute to the game," Judy said. "It was the biggest moment of my high school career for sure."
Forty-six years removed from adding his chapter to the storied rivalry, Judy said that although the game has changed, the highly-anticipated matchup between the Lobos and Panthers remains the same.
"It's always a tough game no matter what, you never know which was it's going to go," he said. "You can throw out the records when these two teams get together."
Judy and his wife of nearly 43 yards, Carol, reside in Longview. His has two sons, Chris – who paced the Lobos to a district title in 1993 as a quarterback – and Trey, and wife Wendy, as well as two grandchildren, Maddox, 7, and Major, 4.
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