Lufkin Pulls Away From Nacogdoches in Second Half For 42-28 Win
NACOGDOCHES -- Lufkin capitalized on its big-play capabilities, and forced a key turnover early in the second half to pull away from its oldest rival Friday night.
The Panthers went on a run of 21 consecutive points in the second and third quarters, and earned a 42-28 victory over Nacogdoches in the ETSN.fm + Dairy Queen Game of the Week at Dragon Stadium.
With the win, Lufkin improved to 2-0 on the season, while Nacogdoches dropped to 1-1.
Lufkin, which rolled up 508 total yards of offense, had five plays go for at least 47 yards on the night.
“My team made big plays and that’s what we’re capable of doing every Friday night," said Lufkin senior quarterback Kordell Rodgers, a Texas State commit. "I believe in my wideouts and I have a great running back. If one person’s name was called, they stepped up and made the play.”
Rodgers finished the night 20-of-28 passing for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Javante Ellington had five catches for 113 yards and a score, and Dhailon Phillips caught six passes for 101 yards.
Lufkin running back Khalil Brown ran 25 times for 173 yards and three touchdowns.
“For the most part I was pretty pleased with it," said Lufkin coach Todd Quick of his team's offense. "We had a couple of drives that we didn’t finish, and you’ve got to be able to finish there. When you get 10-14 play drives you’ve got to be able to get some kind of points at the end of it, and we had a couple of fumbles.”
Lufkin grabbed the momentum late in the first half by going 91 yards in the final 1:36 of the second quarter, taking a 21-14 lead into the break.
Rodgers hit Malik Jackson, who made a one-handed grab, for a 53-yard gain. Sophomore receiver Breylon Garcia then had a 28-yard catch to the 1-yard line, which set up running back Brown's touchdown run as time expired.
“That was big, that was crazy," Quick said of the drive before halftime. "Malik made a great catch down there, then we put another play together. The offensive line did a good job down there on the 1. That was big going into halftime."
Nacogdoches then fumbled the second-half kickoff, and Lufkin's Torrand Grisby recovered at the Dragons' 19. Rodgers then hit Jackson on the first snap of the third quarter for a touchdown, giving Lufkin a 28-14 lead.
Two possessions later, the Dragons found the end zone on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Noah Hildebrand to Jaylon Douglas. The extra point was blocked, leaving Lufkin up 28-20 with 6:10 remaining in the third.
Lufkin re-booted its big-play offense, and scored one minute later. A 52-yard completion from Rodgers to Phillips set up Brown's 16-yard touchdown run, which gave the Panthers a 35-20 lead.
Nacogdoches' Josh Thompson, a Texas commit, returned the ensuing kickoff 39 yards to give the Dragons good field possession. And on the sixth play of the drive, Jones scored from 3 yards out. The two-point conversion was successful, and Nacogdoches trimmed the lead to 35-28 late in the third.
The Panthers had a big return of their own on the kickoff as Jackson went 47 yards to near midfield. And on fourth-and-goal from the 1, Brown's third touchdown of the night pushed Lufkin's lead to 42-28 with 10:24 remaining in the fourth.
Nacogdoches' next two drives ended with a fumble and turnover on downs.
“This is a rivalry game, and they want to win as bad we do," Rodgers said. "We had to keep fighting and fighting. Luckily we fought to the end, and we came out with the win.”
Jones led Nacogdoches with 130 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries. Hildebrand was 14-of-23 for 214 yards and two touchdowns.
Lufkin got on the board first, turning a Savon Fields blocked field goal into a touchdown drive. On third-and-8, Rodgers connected with Beau Atkinson for a 23-yard score with 7:41 remaining in the first quarter.
Nacogdoches responded with a 76-yard drive, scoring on Jones' 23-yard run, tying the game at 7-7 with 3:18 to play in the period.
Dragons linebacker DaRyan Williams then ripped the ball away from Brown, and gave Nacogdoches the ball at the Lufkin 48. Hildebrand connected with Thompson for a 32-yard touchdown and 14-7 Dragons lead four plays later.
It took Lufkin three plays to respond, tying the game at 14-14 on Rodgers' 67-yard strike to Ellington with 6:29 remaining in the half.
Both teams return to action next week. Nacogdoches travels to Tyler Lee on Friday night, while Lufkin takes on Bossier City (La.) Parkway at 4 p.m. next Saturday in Shreveport, La.
Lufkin 42, Nacogdoches 28
At Dragon Stadium, Nacogdoches
Lufkin 7 14 14 7 -- 42
Nacogdoches 7 7 14 0 -- 28
LUF--Beau Atkinson 23 pass from Kordell Rodgers (Rodrigo Molina kick), 7:41.
NAC--Phillip Jones 23 run (Chris Campos-Gonzalez kick), 3:18.
NAC--Josh Thompson 32 pass from Noah Hildebrand (Campos-Gonzalez kick), 7:24.
LUF--Javante Ellington 67 pass from Rodgers (Molina kick), 6:29.
LUF--Khalil Brown 1 run (Molina kick), :00.
LUF--Malik Jackson 19 pass from Rodgers (Molina kick), 11:45.
NAC--Jaylon Douglas 60 pass from Hildebrand (kick failed), 6:10.
LUF--Brown 16 run (Molina kick), 5:10.
NAC--Jones 3 run (Jaylon Maxie pass from Hildebrand), 2:28.
LUF--Brown 1 run (Molina kick), 10:24.
First Downs 21 18
Total Yards 508 362
Rushes-Yards 34-156 39-148
Passing Yards 352 214
Comp.-Att.-Int. 20-28-0 14-23-0
Punts-Avg. 1-48.0 4-32.8
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 2-1
Penalties-Yards 8-69 6-50
RUSHING--Lufkin, Khalil Brown 25-173, Tre' Grant 1-7, Isaiah Phillips 1-0, Kordell Rodgers 7-(-24). Nacogdoches, Phillip Jones 31-130, Noah Hildebrand 8-18.
PASSING--Lufkin, Rodgers 20-28-0--352. Nacogdoches, Hildebrand 14-23-0--214.
RECEIVING--Lufkin, Dhailon Phillips 6-101, Malik Jackson 6-74, Javante Ellington 5-113, Breylon Garcia 2-41, Beau Atkinson 1-23. Nacogdoches, Jaylon Maxie 5-74, Kobe Poole 3-42, Jed Morgan 3-7, Jaylon Douglas 2-59, Josh Thompson 1-32.