These two longtime district rivals with open the season with one another for the third consecutive year.

Lufkin has won the last 11 meetings with the Lions, dating back to the 1999 season. But in the last four encounters, the games have been decided by nine points or less, including last week’s 34-31 thriller in Lufkin.

Julian Verona’s field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter gave JT a 31-27 lead, but Lufkin scored the game-winner with about four minutes left on a 28-yard TD pass from Nick Cox to Jamal Jeffrey.

For JT, it was coming-out party for receiver Fred Ross who accounted for his team’s first two touchdowns -- an 89-yard reception and a 73-yard sprint to the end zone. The Oklahoma State commit finished the night with 199 all-purpose yards on just six touches with three touchdowns.

John Tyler has state title aspirations and a win in the season opener over a perennial 5A power like Lufkin could send a message that the Lions will be a force to reckon with through December.

For Lufkin, it will be the first game coached by someone other John Outlaw since 1994. Outlaw, who collected 302 wins in his 33 years in coaching, died of heart attack shortly after the 2011 season.

Longtime Outlaw assistant Todd Quick takes over a team loaded with size and speed, as is always the case in Lufkin.


Top 25 Games of the Year

No. 4: Gilmer vs. Henderson

No. 5: The Woodlands vs. Lufkin

No. 6: Longview vs. Mesquite

No. 7: Arp vs. Tatum

No. 8: John Tyler vs. Corsicana

No. 9: Henderson vs. Chapel Hill

No. 10: Henderson vs. Kilgore

No. 11: Carthage vs. Chapel Hill

No. 12: Kilgore vs. Chapel Hill

No. 13: Chapel Hill vs. Gilmer

No. 14: Alto vs. San Augustine

No. 15: Texas High vs. Sulphur Springs

No. 16: Waco La Vega vs. Palestine

No. 17: Hughes Springs vs. Elysian Fields

No. 18: Gilmer vs. Atlanta

No. 19: Whitehouse vs. Carthage

No. 20: Daingerfield vs. New Boston

No. 21: Carlisle vs. Big Sandy

No. 22: Palestine vs. Jacksonville

No. 23: Tenaha vs. San Augustine

No. 24: Gilmer vs. Daingerfield

No. 25: John Tyler vs. Tyler Lee