Lufkin Panthers (1-1)

vs.

West Monroe Rebels (1-0)

8:30 p.m. Friday

Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.

Coaches
  • Lufkin: Todd Quick
  • West Monroe: Jerry Arledge

 

Last week
  • Lufkin: def. Tyler Lee, 52-49 (OT)
  • West Monroe: def. Monroe Wossman, 42-0

 

Next week
  • Lufkin: idle
  • West Monroe: vs. Madison (Miss.) Central, Sept. 18

 

Playmakers

Lufkin

  • DE Bronson "Boom" Massie, Sr., 6-3, 210
  • QB Kordell Rodgers, Jr., 6-0, 175
  • WR Dhailon Phillips, Jr., 6-3, 185
  • OL Jerrod Johnson, Sr., 6-3, 295
  • RB Ellis Jackson, Sr., 5-8, 170
  • WR Mailk Johnson, Jr., 5-8, 155
  • CB LaVonte White, Sr., 6-1, 170
  • WR/DB Savon Fields, Soph., 5-8, 155

 

West Monroe

  • QB Jon Randall Belton, Sr., 6-3, 205
  • LB Layton Garnett, Sr., 6-3, 255
  • DB Tylan Jackson, Sr., 6-1, 195
  • DT Kalvin Bowman, Sr., 5-9, 275
  • DE Dennis Collins, Jr., 6-3, 240
  • RB Trey Coleman, Jr., 6-0, 185
  • QB Robert Scott Foust, Jr., 6-3, 170
  • QB Slade Bolden, Soph., 5-10, 170

 

Just the facts
  • Lufkin has played six non-Texas opponents since 1944. The Panthers are 3-3 all-time against teams from outside the Lone Star State.
  • This will be the first meeting between Lufkin and West Monroe.
  • Since the beginning of the 2014 season, the Panthers have played in nine games decided by seven points or less.
  • Last week's overtime win over Tyler Lee was Lufkin's first overtime game since 2012, when the Panthers and A&M Consolidated went four OT's.
  • There is one game scheduled before Lufkin-West Monroe on Friday. River Ridge (La.) John Curtis will play Irondale (Ala.) Shades Valley at 6 p.m.
  • The West Monroe Rebels have won eight Louisiana state championships since 1993.
  • West Monroe has played East Texas teams before, having met John Tyler in both 1998 and 1999.
  • The Rebels are 122-16 (.884) since the beginning of the 2005 season.

 

Lufkin DE Bronson "Boom" Massie. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: West Monroe rushing attack vs. Lufkin defensive front. In last week's season-opening win over Wossman, West Monroe piled up 576 yards of total offense, including 368 on the ground. Junior running back Trey Coleman had a big night, finishing with 166 total yards and two touchdowns. The Rebels rotated three quarterbacks throughout the game, but their primary focus on the offensive side of the ball was their running game. West Monroe, while capable of winning games through the air, would much rather dictate tempo by remaining on the ground. The Rebels are historically one of the biggest and most physical football teams in the entire state of Louisiana, and this season is no different. West Monroe is able to dominate with its rushing attack most weeks because of its large and technically-sound offensive line. It will be up to Lufkin's active defensive front to force the Rebels to make plays downfield in the passing game.

Lufkin quarterback Kordell Rodgers finds running room during the Panthers' 52-49 overtime win over Tyler Lee on Sept. 4 in Tyler.

Lufkin struggled in all facets defensively in the first half last week vs. Tyler Lee. Not only did the Panthers allow 42 points in the first 24 minutes last Friday night, they also yielded 526 yards of offense by halftime, including 270 on the ground. Lufkin surrendered long touchdown runs of 64 and 55 yards on back-to-back defensive series. However, the Panthers turned it around in the second half. Lufkin allowed just 176 yards to Lee in the game's final two quarters, including just 105 on the ground. The Panthers' defensive front is among the best in East Texas. Defensive end Bronson "Boom" Massie, while especially adept at rushing the passer, is more than capable of making plays at or behind the line of scrimmage on running plays. The biggest defensive play of last week's win may have been Massie's stop of Lee running back Datavion Thacker for a 1-yard loss on first down in overtime. That play set the tone for what was to follow: fumble, pass break-up, pass break-up.

Don't be surprised if: Friday night's game is much more conservative in the scoring department than Lufkin's shootout win last week. West Monroe's defense was dominant in its season-opening shutout of Monroe Wossman, holding LSU commit Cam Lewis, Louisiana Tech pledge Ladarrius Thomas, and the Wossman offense in check. Meanwhile, Lufkin's defense was playing at an extremely high level at the end of the Panthers' comeback win over Tyler Lee. With West Monroe playing in its second game of the year, and Lufkin playing its third, don't expect to see too many mistakes from either team. Last season in the same stadium, Lufkin let crucial mistakes get the best of it in a 32-25 loss to River Ridge (La.) John Curtis. The Panthers, which led for most of the game, committed three second-half turnovers and experienced four special teams gaffes that ultimately decided the outcome. It would be surprising to see Lufkin make those same mistakes again, especially considering the wave of momentum the Panthers will be riding into town with Friday night.