Lufkin Needs A Win At Corsicana On Friday To Remain In Playoff Hunt
Lufkin Panthers (4-4, 2-3)
Corsicana Tigers (3-5, 2-3)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium, Corsicana
- Lufkin: Todd Quick
- Corsicana: Steve Hoffman
- Lufkin: vs. Jacksonville, Nov. 7
- Corsicana: at Ennis, Nov. 7
- WR KeKe Coutee, Sr., 5-10, 170 (47 catches, 659 yards, 8 TDs; 7 carries, 36 yards)
- OL Erik McCoy, Sr., 6-4, 290
- WR Terry Mark, Sr., 6-2, 180 (30 catches, 493 yards, 9 TDs; committed to Houston)
- QB Trey Cumbie, Sr., 6-2, 195 (107 of 155, 1,483 yards, 20 TDs, 3 INTs; 39 carries, 149 yards, 4 TDs)
- DL/LB Bronson Massie, Jr., 6-3, 210
- RB Steven Sowell, Sr., 5-9, 170 (164 carries, 1,168 yards, 16 TDs; 11 catches, 91 yards)
- FB Blake Johnson, Sr., 5-10, 180 (24 carries, 89 yards, TD; 6 catches, 70 yards, TD)
- DL Tyrique Spencer, Sr., 6-2, 240
- RB Jamaal Evans, Sr., 6-3, 185 (126 carries, 748 yards, 6 TDs; 4 catches, 73 yards, TD)
- QB Kishawn Kelley, Soph., 6-2, 200 (39 of 103, 596 yards, 5 TDs, 5 INTs; 87 carries, 460 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB JaMicha Polk, Soph., 5-7, 165 (81 carries, 339 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Danair Martin, Sr., 6-3, 195 (14 catches, 285 yards, 4 TDs; 6 carries, 66 yards)
- WR Nick Terry, Sr. (8 catches, 111 yards)
- DL Darius Watson, Sr., 6-2, 225
- OL Jonathan Seaton, Sr.
Just the facts
- This is the sixth meeting between Lufkin and Corsicana. Lufkin leads the all-time series, 3-2.
- Lufkin defeated Corsicana, 10-7, in the Panthers' 2001 state championship season.
- Lufkin is averaging 41.8 points and 396.6 yards per game -- 208.4 rushing and 188.2 passing.
- Lufkin's four losses have come by a combined 19 points.
- The combined record of Lufkin's opponents is 41-22.
- Corsicana is averaging 21.3 points and 302.6 yards per game -- 228.1 rushing and 74.5 passing.
- Corsicana has not missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since 2007-08.
- The combined record of Corsicana's opponents is 34-31.
Key matchup: Lufkin rushing attack vs. Corsicana defensive front. One of the most surprising developments of the 2014 season for the Lufkin Panthers has been the emergence of senior running back Steven Sowell. While it's not as if Sowell appeared out of thin year; he had a breakout junior season. But through eight games, Lufkin's workhorse back has been the heart and soul of a Panthers offense that's averaging almost 42 points per game. Sowell is averaging 146 rushing yards and two touchdowns per game, and only once has he been held to less than 100 yards in a game this season. Even though Lufkin has plenty of weapons at its disposal in the passing game with the senior trio of quarterback Trey Cumbie and receivers KeKe Coutee and Terry Mark, the Panthers have become a much more ground-oriented team this fall. Cumbie's numbers, although very solid, are down from a season ago, while Sowell and the Lufkin rushing attack's production is on the rise. Big games from Sowell haven't always equaled Panthers wins, but it's hard not to be impressed with a strong running game.
It's been a tough last three weeks for Corsicana, which has suffered three consecutive losses after beginning district with back-to-back wins. But all is not lost for the Tigers, who can still keep their playoff hopes alive with a home win against Lufkin on Friday night. In order to accomplish that, Corsicana must put together a strong defensive performance, and in particular, a solid effort against the run. For the season, the Tigers' defense has done reasonably well against opposing rushing attacks. Only twice in eight games have teams been able to eclipse the 200-yard rushing mark on Corsicana, which is yielding 184 yards on the ground per game. Recent history also suggests that if the Tigers play good run defense, the secondary is more than capable of coming away with turnovers. Opposing quarterbacks have a touchdown-to-interception ratio of just 11-7 on the year, which is based largely on how effective Corsicana has been in containing teams on the ground. It will take a big-time effort from Corsicana's defense this week against Lufkin, mostly because of an anemic Tigers offense that's averaging only 21 points per game.
Don't be surprised if: Lufkin puts together one of its best performances of the season. The Panthers suffered a heart-breaking 55-48 loss to district-leading Ennis a week ago, and the last time Lufkin had to re-group from a devastating defeat, it definitely came to play the following week. After a 26-24 last-second loss to John Tyler on Oct. 10, Lufkin responded with a 63-28 road win at Lindale -- the same Lindale team Corsicana had to rally against for a 24-23 victory in the 16-5A opener. Head coach Todd Quick and the rest of the Panthers realize what's at stake Friday night, and know that a loss puts their team's aspirations of reaching the playoffs in serious jeopardy. With the exception of playing on the road, everything points to a rather comfortable Lufkin win this week. The Panthers are an extremely senior-laden bunch playing in a program that hasn't missed out on the postseason since 1997. Meanwhile, Corsicana has been on the losing end three straight weeks and the Tigers' roster is full of underclassmen.