Lufkin Aims for Third Consecutive District 14-5A Win vs. Conroe Oak Ridge
Conroe Oak Ridge War Eagles (7-1, 3-1)
Lufkin Panthers (3-5, 2-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
John Outlaw Memorial Field at Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin
- Oak Ridge: Dereck Rush
- Lufkin: Todd Quick
- Oak Ridge: lost 41-23 vs. College Station A&M Consolidated
- Lufkin: won 34-14 at The Woodlands College Park
- Oak Ridge: vs. The Woodlands
- Lufkin: at Conroe
Conroe Oak Ridge
- QB Braden Letney, Soph. (595 passing yards, 6 TDs, 5 INTs; 84 carries, 698 yards, 12 TDs)
- RB Kwame Etwi, Jr. (95 carries, 598 yards, 11 TDs; 14 catches, 128 yards, 1 TD)
- ATH Demarcus Durst, Sr. (32 touches, 313 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Jamarqus Durst, Sr. (18 touches, 233 yards, 4 TDs)
- WR Lamar Handy, Soph. (25 touches, 290 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Justin Edwards, Jr. (43 carries, 244 yards, 2 TDs)
- OL Justin Smith, Sr.
- DB J.D. Hurd, Sr.
- QB Trey Cumbie, Jr., 6-1, 187
- RB Steven Sowell, Jr. (150 rushing yards, 1 TD vs. College Park)
- WR KeKe Coutee, Jr., 5-10, 160 (committed to Texas)
- DT D.J. Williams, Sr., 6-4, 293
- CB Jamarion Houston, Sr. (1 INT return TD vs. College Park)
- WR Demarrea Houston (1 receiving TD vs. College Park)
- S Michael Farley, Sr., 6-0, 180
- K Timmy Martinez (25-yard FG, 36-yard FG vs. College Park)
Just the facts
- Lufkin won 24-0 at Oak Ridge in 2012.
- Lufkin has won back-to-back games after starting the season 1-5.
- Lufkin has held its last two opponents to 16.5 points per game after allowing 37.7 per game in the first six games of the season.
- Oak Ridge averages 36.6 points per game and allows 24.4.
- Lufkin averages 31.9 points per game and yields 32.4.
- Oak Ridge's 18-point home loss to A&M Consolidated snapped a seven-game winning streak to start the season.
- Lufkin's first eight opponents are a combined 41-24, including a 35-13 mark from the first six teams on the Panthers' schedule.
- Oak Ridge's first eight opponents are a combined 26-39, including a 20-37 record from the first seven teams on the schedule.
- The final three teams (College Park, Oak Ridge, Conroe) on Lufkin's schedule are a combined 15-9 entering this week's games.
- The final three teams (A&M Consolidated, Lufkin, The Woodlands) on Oak Ridge's schedule are a combined 15-9 entering this week's games.
Key matchup: Oak Ridge's defensive front against Lufkin's running game. Lufkin entered the season with a lot of hype surrounding its passing game, and deservedly so. First-year starting quarterback Trey Cumbie has had a solid season with more than 1,800 passing yards in the Panthers' first eight games, while receivers KeKe Coutee and Jamal Jeffery haven't disappointed.
But it's no secret that if the Panthers run the ball well, they have a very good shot at winning, especially lately.
Sowell had a big game last week against College Park, which surrendered 150 yards to Sowell, who ran behind Lufkin's large, physical offensive front. The Panthers have the personnel in the trenches, including junior standout Eric McCoy and senior Wacey Hartman, to win the battle at the point of attack.
If Sowell has another good game, that should give Cumbie more comfort when he drops back. It should also help keep Lufkin's defense fresh. That unit has improved dramatically the last couple of weeks, much the same way it did at this time last year, when Lufkin won six consecutive games en route to the third round of the playoffs.
Don't be surprised if: Lufkin turns the teams records entering this game around on each other. A glance at the standings tells you that Oak Ridge is four games better than Lufkin over the course of the season, but, as noted above, Lufkin has faced tougher opponents, including Longview in non-district and The Woodlands, which Oak Ridge won't see until next week.
Lufkin has the opportunity to erase the memories of a 1-5 start with a win against a team that already has seven wins. Not only would that help the Panthers' psyche immensely, it would put the Pack very close to a District 14-5A playoff berth entering next week's regular-season finale at Conroe.