Lufkin Breezes By Prepa Tec From Mexico
[Josh Havard, Special to ETSN.fm]
LUFKIN -- With the Monterrey Prepa Tec making the long trip to Lufkin for a rare international football game, the Panthers rolled out the welcome mat for their neighbors to the south.
When the teams finally kicked off, however, the Panthers' hospitality went out the window.
Kordell Rodgers threw for 313 yards and four scores on 15-of-23 passing and the Lufkin offense came to life after a shaky first half, rolling to a 35-7 win on Friday at John Outlaw Memorial Field at Abe Martin Stadium.
"We were trying to run the football," Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said. "When they put seven in the box, you have to throw the football. We were trying to run it anyway. Then we figured out we were just going to have to throw the ball and make the catches."
Playing in front of a packed house full of Lufkin fans, it was anything but smooth sailing in the opening 24 minutes as some sluggish play mixed with a determined Prepa Tec defense kept the Panthers (3-1) off balance.
But, after the break, Lufkin put up 300 yards of offense while keeping the Borregos off balance in taking control of the game.
"They were putting a bunch of guys in the box, and we were just being hard headed and running it anyway," Quick said. "You just can't be hard headed out there."
Kahlil Brown was kept in check for Lufkin. He was held to 24 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Lufkin came up with big plays throughout the receiving corps with Malik Jackson making three catches for 109 yards and a touchdown and Dhailon Phillips catching touchdown passes of 37 and 80 yards.
A week after a game in which the teams combined for 1,400 yards, Lufkin and Monterrey each failed to gain 100 yards in the opening half.
The teams set the tone for the first half by exchanging three-and-outs before Monterrey shanked a punt, giving the Panthers good field position.
Lufkin took advantage after Monterrey committed a pass interference that helped keep a drive alive. The Panthers got on the board with Rodgers hitting Beau Atkinson over the middle for a 20-yard touchdown strike and a 7-0 lead.
The teams then exchanged punts on the next four drives before Prepa Tec had its only sustained offensive drive late in the first half.
Taking advantage of several Lufkin mistakes, Prepa Tec put together a 13-play, 77-yard drive that was capped by a Carlos Avila 2-yard touchdown run that knotted the game at 7-7 with 4:08 left in the half.
The drive was kept alive by Lufkin committing a pass interference on a third-and-long and then a roughing the passer on a fourth and long.
The game didn't stay tied for long.
Going 75 yards on 10 plays, Lufkin capped off its next drive drive with Kahlil Brown powering into the end zone from two yards out for a 14-7 lead with 1:53 left in the half.
The Panthers looked poised to put more points on the board before halftime when Zamarion Johnson recovered a pooch kick in Prepa Tec territory.
However, Lufkin went backwards from there, settling for a 14-7 lead.
The Panthers turned it on after halftime when Prepa Tec simply couldn't keep up with the dynamic receiving corps.
After Monterrey dropped a potential touchdown pass on the first drive of the third quarter, the Panthers' offense went to work.
On Lufkin's seventh play of the second half, Phillips hauled in a 37-yard touchdown reception from Rodgers to finally give Lufkin some breathing room with a 21-7 advangage.
After another Monterrey punt, Phillips went back to work. He took a short pass and sprinted 80 yards for his second touchdown and a 28-7 lead.
Monterrey seemed to find its footing the next drive with a pair of long runs by quarterback Victor Puentes. However, that momentum was snapped when ZaCourtney Deason came up with an interception near the end zone.
Lufkin's offense took advantage with the big play two snaps later.
This time it was Malik Jackson who hauled in a pass and outraced the Prepa Tec defense for an 85-yard score, making it 35-7 early in the fourth quarter.
From there, Lufkin was able to put in its subs on its way to a 28-point victory, its third win in four games.
The Panthers will be back in action for homecoming next Friday against College Park.