Lufkin Travels to No. 7 The Woodlands in Pivotal District Matchup
Lufkin Panthers (4-1, 1-0)
The Woodlands Highlanders (4-0, 0-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Woodforest Bank Stadium, Shenandoah
- Lufkin: Todd Quick
- The Woodlands: Mark Schmid
- Lufkin: def. The Woodlands College Park, 58-17
- The Woodlands: idle
- Lufkin: idle
- The Woodlands: at Beaumont West Brook, Oct. 7
- QB Kordell Rodgers, Sr., 6-0, 170 (92 of 132, 1,620 yards, 17 TDs, 2 INTs; committed to Texas State)
- WR Dhailon Phillips, Sr., 6-3, 195 (26 catches, 586 yards, 5 TDs)
- RB Kahlil Brown, Sr., 5-10, 193 (104 carries, 586 yards, 10 TDs; 6 catches, 92 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Malik Jackson, Jr., 6-0, 170 (19 catches, 452 yards, 5 TDs)
- CB Jeremiah Davis, Jr., 6-0, 180
- OL Hunter Hollis, Jr., 6-3, 295
- WR Javante Ellington, Sr., 5-5, 140 (22 catches, 298 yards, 3 TDs)
- S Savon Fields, Jr., 5-9, 168
- QB Eric Schmid, Sr., 6-1, 175
- DE Michael Purcell, Sr., 6-4, 230
- WR Kesean Carter, Jr., 5-11, 140
- RB Jordan Talford, Jr., 5-9, 170
- LB Zach La Confora, Sr., 6-0, 205
- LB Grant Milton, Sr., 6-1, 190
- OL Matt Common, Sr., 6-3, 300
- WR Chris Stewart, Sr., 5-9, 160
Just the facts
- Lufkin and The Woodlands shared the same district from 2004-13. Lufkin was 6-4 in their previous district meetings.
- The Woodlands has an enrollment of 4,280 students, which is the ninth-most in the state. Lufkin has 2,198, which is 49 students above the cutoff for Class 5A.
- Lufkin is averaging 44.8 points and 475 yards per game -- 137 rushing and 338 passing.
- The Panthers are 4-1 for the first time since 2011.
- The cumulative record of Lufkin's American opponents is 10-9.
- The Woodlands averages 31.8 points per game, and is allowing 11.
- The Highlanders are 4-0 for the first time since 2011.
- The cumulative record of The Woodlands' first four opponents is 10-8.
Key matchup: Lufkin passing attack vs. The Woodlands secondary. Friday night's District 12-6A clash between the Panthers and Highlanders appears to be a classic battle of offense vs. defense. Lufkin, through five games, is averaging almost 45 points and 475 yards per game. The fewest points it has scored in a game this season is 35, which it has done twice. Senior quarterback Kordell Rodgers, a Texas State commit, has been the primary catalyst. In the past seen as both a runner and a passer, Rodgers has almost exclusively produced through the air. He has thrown for more than 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns and is coming off a career-best performance, passing for 420 yards and six scores in the Panthers' district-opening win over The Woodlands College Park. Lufkin's deep fleet of receivers could make life difficult on Highlanders defensive backs.
The Woodlands is 4-0 on the season, and it has been on the back of its defense. The Highlanders are allowing just 11 points per game, and the most points they've allowed in a game thus far is 20 back in a season-opening win over Cy-Fair. Since, The Woodlands has allowed a total of 24 points in victories over Spring, Katy, and Richmond George Ranch. The strength of The Woodlands' defense is up front with defensive end Michael Purcell and linebackers Zach La Confora and Grant Milton. But the secondary is sure to be put to the test vs. Lufkin's explosive receiving corps, featuring Dhailon Phillips, Malik Jackson, and Javante Ellington. That trio has combined to haul in 67 catches for 1,336 yards (19.9 yards per reception) and 13 touchdowns.
Don't be surprised if: This X-factors in this game are the two running backs. The Woodlands will give the lion's share of carries to junior Jordan Talford, while Lufkin features senior Kahlil Brown, who has already rushed for 10 touchdowns on the season. Both quarterbacks -- Rodgers and The Woodlands' Eric Schmid -- drive the engine for their respective teams, but do not discount the value of the running game. Both Talford and Brown have been leaned in the early going to carry their teams to the finish line late in games, and their services are likely to be needed once again Friday night. Whichever team grabs control of the game will need a strong ground game to finish their opponent off, and the outcome could be decided by which running back fares the best down the stretch.