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John Tyler-Lufkin is the ETSN.fm + Dairy Queen Game of the Week

Lufkin quarterback Trey Cumbie fires a pass during the Panthers’ practice Aug. 14 in Lufkin. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Friday night’s season opener between old district rivals John Tyler and Lufkin is the ETSN.fm Dairy Queen Game of the Week.

The Lions, ranked No. 8 in Class 4A by the Associated Press to begin the season, look to reload after several key playmakers from the 2012′s state semifinalist were lost to graduation.

John Tyler’s Geovari McCollister looks for an open receiver during a scrimmage with Longview on Aug. 23 in Tyler. (© Christopher R. Vinn/www.etsn.fm)

JT must replace 92 percent of its offensive production from a season ago, but second-year coach Ricklan Holmes is confident his team has re-loaded. Junior Geovari McCollister (6-2, 200) takes over at quarterback for Division I signee Greg Ward (Houston), while a young but talented collection of receivers aims to pick where last season’s trio of Fred Ross (Mississippi State), Darion Flowers (Sam Houston State) and Justice Liggins (SFA) left off.

Lufkin, which finished 9-4 last season with a trip to the 5A Division II Region II semifinals, is hopeful of another strong season with several key players from 2012 returning to the fold.

The Panthers have one of the most talented receiving corps in the state, featuring two FCS commits in senior Jamal Jeffery (Texas A&M) and junior KeKe Coutee (Texas). Lufkin also will field a strong defensive unit, led by senior defensive tackle D.J. Williams, who has five FCS offers.

John Tyler won last season’s matchup, 35-21, in Tyler. It was Lufkin’s first season-opening loss since 1992 and marked the first time JT had beaten Lufkin in eight tries.

Be sure to tune in to KLTV’s Red Zone postgame show for highlights of this game, along with plenty of other highlights and insight from games across East Texas — and, of course, right here on ETSN.fm.

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