LUFKIN -- Friday night's District 16-5A matchup pitting Whitehouse against Lufkin featured a pair of teams in desperation mode, each not wanting to begin their daunting league schedule 0-2.

And after 97 points, 56 first downs and nearly 1,100 total yards of offense, the ninth-ranked Lufkin Panthers came away with a narrow 52-45 defeat of Whitehouse at Abe Martin Stadium.

Whitehouse (3-2, 0-2), which scored 21 fourth-quarter points to push Lufkin (3-2, 1-1) to the brink, had one final chance to find the equalizing score.

The Wildcats began their last drive at their own 13 with 1:15 remaining, armed with one timeout. A huge 30-yard completion from Jackson Allen to Trent Williams on third-and-11 gave Whitehouse life. The Wildcats eventually reached the Lufkin 41-yard line with nine seconds to play, but three consecutive incompletions spelled the end of a valiant comeback attempt.

Lufkin's Trey Cumbie launches a 40-yard touchdown pass to Terry Mark during the Panthers' 52-45 win over Whitehouse on Friday night in Lufkin. (Jim Jackson,

Lufkin took a 45-24 lead into the fourth quarter and went up 52-38 with 4:23 remaining on a Trey Cumbie 2-yard run, but Whitehouse answered. Shemar Smith returned the ensuing kickoff 51 yards into Lufkin territory, and the Wildcats got within a touchdown at 52-45 on Allen's 14-yard completion to Smith with 1:53 remaining.

Whitehouse recovered what appeared to be its second onside kick of the quarter, but the Wildcats were called for offsides, which prompted a re-kick that Lufkin's KeKe Coutee recovered. But the Panthers couldn't covert a first down, which allowed Whitehouse one last chance.

Cumbie led Lufkin by completing 13 of 20 passes for 212 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 36 yards and a score on four rushing attempts. Steven Sowell ran for a game-high 181 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries.

Coutee had eight catches for 131 yards and a touchdown to lead Lufkin's receiving corps. Terry Mark had three receptions for 72 yards and a pair of first-half touchdown catches.

Whitehouse ran 95 offensive plays for the game, including 58 in the first half. Dominique Hollie rushed for a season-high 122 yards and career-best five touchdowns on 17 carries to lead the Wildcats offensively.

A pack of Lufkin defenders bring down Whitehouse's Keatlon Coffer during their game Friday night in Lufkin. (Jim Jackson,

Allen was 44 of 66 passing for 419 yards with a touchdown and an interception, hitting 10 different receivers.

Eric Munoz had a team-high 14 catches for 102 yards, Shemar Smith had 10 grabs for 110 yards and the TD, Drew Smith caught seven passes for 82 yards and Williams had seven receptions for 74 yards.

With Lufkin carrying a 35-24 lead into the third quarter, the Panthers did their best to play keep away from Whitehouse's lightning-quick uptempo offense. The Panthers scored on both of their possessions in the quarter -- a 4-yard touchdown pass from Cumbie to Blake Johnson and a 34-yard field goal by Javier Montes, which extended Lufkin's lead to 42-24.

Whitehouse, which ran just four plays in the third quarter, went back to work in the final 12 minutes.

Hollie's fourth touchdown of the night -- a 7-yard run -- cut the deficit to 45-31 with 10:14 remaining. Cade Parrish then recovered an onside kick, which set the Wildcats up at their own 44. Hollie converted a fourth-and-1 play, and got in the end zone six plays later on a 6-yard run to cut Lufkin's lead to 45-38 with 7:08 to play.

Lufkin recovered the onside kick this time, and on third-and-long, Cumbie heaved a deep pass to Coutee for a 52-yard gain inside the Whitehouse 5-yard line. Cumbie called his own number on second-and-goal from the 2, giving the Panthers a 52-38 advantage with 4:23 remaining.

Turnovers on Whitehouse's first two possessions led to a quick 14-0 lead for Lufkin. Jadarius Carroll intercepted Allen to end the Wildcats' first drive of the game, and Cumbie connected with Mark for a 40-yard touchdown on Lufkin's second play from scrimmage.

Whitehouse's Dominique Hollie looks for room to run during the Wildcats' 52-45 loss at Lufkin on Friday night. (Jim Jackson,

Kordell Rogers recovered a Whitehouse fumble on the ensuing drive, and Lufkin capitalized, scoring on Cumbie's 16-yard strike to Coutee with 7:09 showing on the first-quarter clock.

Whitehouse responded with a 16-play, 75-yard drive that was finished off by a Hollie 6-yard touchdown run. But Lufkin went right back down the field on its next possession, increasing its lead to 21-7 on Sowell's 17-yard touchdown run with 1:51 to play in the opening quarter.

The Wildcats scored on their two next possessions to even the game at 21-21. Hollie's 13-yard scoring run capped a 10-play drive, and his 13-yard scoring jaunt tied the game with 8:05 remaining in the first half.

Cumbie's third touchdown pass of the half -- a 12-yarder to Mark -- gave Lufkin a 28-21 lead. The Panthers pushed their lead to two scores when offensive lineman TyJalen Barlow fell on a loose ball, fumbled by Coutee, in the end zone.

Whitehouse's Colby Crim connected on a 32-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining in the second quarter, cutting Lufkin's lead over Whitehouse to 35-24.

The road does not get any easier for either Whitehouse or Lufkin next week. Whitehouse will try to avoid a third consecutive loss when it hosts Ennis (3-2, 2-0), while Lufkin visits No. 5 John Tyler (4-1, 2-0) next Friday night.

Lufkin's KeKe Coutee eludes the Whitehouse defense and picks up a first down during the Panthers' 52-45 win over Whitehouse on Friday night in Lufkin. (Jim Jackson,

No. 9 Lufkin 52, Whitehouse 45

At Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin

Whitehouse               7    17     0    21    --    45
Lufkin                      21    14    10     7     --   52

First Quarter
LUF--Terry Mark 40 pass from Trey Cumbie (Javier Montes kick), 10:36.
LUF--KeKe Coutee 16 pass from Cumbie (Montes kick), 7:09.
WHI--Dominique Hollie 6 run (Colby Crim kick), 3:29.
LUF--Steven Sowell 17 run (Montes kick), 1:51.
Second Quarter
WHI--Hollie 13 run (Crim kick), 11:42.
WHI--Hollie 13 run (Crim kick), 8:05.
LUF--Mark 12 pass from Cumbie (Montes kick), 4:45.
LUF--TyJalen Barlow 0 run (Montes kick), 2:16.
WHI--FG Crim 32, :08.
Third Quarter
LUF--Blake Johnson 4 pass from Cumbie (Montes kick), 7:24.
LUF--FG Montes 34, :07.
Fourth Quarter
WHI--Hollie 7 run (Crim kick), 10:14.
WHI--Hollie 6 run (Crim kick), 7:08.
LUF--Cumbie 2 run (Montes kick), 4:23.
WHI--Shemar Smith 14 pass from Jackson Allen (Crim kick), 1:53.

                                               WHI                     LUF
First Downs                                 33                       23
Total Yards                                602                     496
Rushes-Yards                       29-183               42-284
Passing Yards                            419                    212
Comp.-Att.-Int.                     46-66-1            13-20-0
Punts-Avg.                             2-48.0               2-31.0
Fumbles-Lost                               2-1                   1-0
Penalties-Yards                          9-75                 6-43

RUSHING--Whitehouse, Dominique Hollie 17-122, Jackson Allen 4-25, Keatlon Coffer 3-21, Vincent Dunning 4-13, Shemar Smith 1-2. Lufkin, Steven Sowell 31-181, Trey Cumbie 4-36, Blake Johnson 2-34, Ellis Jackson 2-13, KeKe Coutee 2-12, Dalvin Smith 1-8.
PASSING--Whitehouse, Allen 44-66-1--419. Lufkin, Cumbie 13-20-0--212.
RECEIVING--Whitehouse, Eric Munoz 14-102, Shemar Smith 10-110, Drew Smith 7-82, Trent Williams 7-74, Isiah Clark 2-17, Tanner Roach 2-9, Hunter Franks 1-14, Hollie 1-9, Coffer 1-2, Dunning 1-2. Lufkin, Coutee 8-131, Mark 3-72, Johnson 2-9.