Friday Night’s Season Opener Between Rivals Longview + Lufkin Is The ETSN.fm + DQ Game Of The Week
What a way to kick off the 2014 high school football season in East Texas! Two longtime rivals -- Longview and Lufkin -- began the year against one another Friday night at Abe Martin Stadium in the ETSN.fm/Dairy Queen Game of the Week.
The Week 1 clash, set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff, will be the 75th installment of the Longview-Lufkin series, which is currently even at 35-35-4.
For years, two of East Texas' flagship programs shared the same district in the state's highest classification. Lufkin was sent south to compete with schools in the northern Houston suburbs prior to the 2004 season, and after a decade separated from the region, the Panthers are back in an East Texas district.
The UIL placed Longview and Lufkin in separate 5A districts back in February, but the intensity will still be palpable when the Lobos and Pack hit the field.
Prior to the 1999 meeting, Longview held a 30-23-4 series edge over its rival to the south. But Lufkin has since won 12 of the last 17 meetings, which included a 10-game winning streak from 1999-2006.
Longview and Lufkin famously played three times against one another in 2002, when both schools were in a four-team 5A district along with John Tyler and Tyler Lee. Lufkin swept both district games, and took a 24-21 victory in the playoffs.
The Lobos are currently riding a three-game winning streak in the series, punctuated by back-to-back blowout wins the last two seasons -- 45-14 in 2012 and 55-30 last fall.
Longview, which went 11-2 and won its ninth district title in 10 years last season, returns seven starters from 2013's regional semifinalist. They include running back and Baylor commit JaMycal Hasty, who is doubtful for Friday's game because of injury, and quarterback Dezmond Chumley -- a 2,200-yard passer from a season ago.
Lufkin, which qualified for the playoffs for the 16th consecutive year last season despite its first losing record since 1995, brings back 12 starters. Senior quarterback Trey Cumbie passed for 2,738 yards and 27 touchdowns as junior, and will look to get receivers and FBS recruits KeKe Coutee and Terry Mark involved early and often in the passing game.
Be sure to check out the Longview-Lufkin game preview Wednesday morning on ETSN.fm, follow staff writer Mike Graham (@Mike_ETSN) for updates throughout the game, and head back to ETSN.fm late Friday night or early Saturday morning for complete game coverage.