DISTRICT 8-5A DIVISION I

No. 5 Lufkin Panthers (4-1, 2-0)

vs.

No. 6 College Station Cougars (5-0, 2-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Cougar Stadium, College Station

Coaches

  • Lufkin: Todd Quick
  • College Station: Steve Huff

Last week

Next week

  • Lufkin: vs. Tomball, Oct. 19
  • College Station: at Magnolia, Oct. 19

Players to watch

Lufkin

  • WR Ja'Lynn Polk, Jr., 6-2, 175 (17 catches, 333 yards, 2 TDs)
  • DB Jerrin Thompson, Jr., 6-0, 170 (34 tackles, 3 for loss, 3 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
  • DE Breylon Garcia, Sr., 6-4, 230 (23 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 5 QB pressures; committed to Nevada)
  • DE Javasia Brunson, Sr., 6-4, 235 (19 tackles, 6 QB pressures, 1 INT, 1 PBU)
  • QB Kewone Thomas, Sr., 6-2, 190 (17 of 25, 292 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs; 21 carries, 160 yards, 4 TDs)
  • RB Qu'vontae Smallwood, Jr. (60 carries, 325 yards, 1 TD; 4 catches, 76 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR Titan Williams, Sr., 5-9, 166 (20 catches, 315 yards, 4 TDs; 4 carries, 53 yards, 1 TD)
  • DT Carl Williams, Sr., 6-4, 306 (4 tackles, 1 sack, 4 QB pressures; committed to Arkansas)

College Station

  • QB Brandon Williams, Sr., 6-2, 210 (76 of 110, 997 yards, 11 TDs, 2 INTs; 35 carries, 118 yards, 6 TDs)
  • RB Kolbe Cashion, Jr., 5-9, 185 (57 carries, 241 yards, 5 TDs; 8 catches, 81 yards)
  • WR Zachary Williams, Sr,, 6-1, 180 (25 catches, 267 yards, 4 TDs)
  • TE Peyton Rusk, Jr., 6-2, 203 (19 catches, 254 yards, 3 TDs)
  • S Brandon Joseph, Sr., 6-1, 180 (43 tackles, 3 for loss, 3 INTs, 7 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles, 2 blocked kicks)
  • CB Ryan Stapp, Sr., 5-11, 170 (28 tackles, 2 INTs, 11 PBUs, 1 QB pressure, 1 defensive TD)
  • LB Traevon Thompson, Jr., 6-1, 190 (49 tackles, 8 for loss, 1 QB pressure, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • LB Garrett Draper, Sr., 6-1, 180 (39 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 QB pressure, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 forced fumble, 1 defensive TD)

Just the facts

  • This is the first-ever meeting between Lufkin and College Station.
  • Lufkin reached the state quarterfinals in 6A Division II last season, while College Station captured the 5A Division II state championship.
  • Lufkin is averaging 46.2 points and 435.6 yards per game -- 235.6 rushing and 200 passing.
  • Six different Panthers players have receiving touchdowns in 2018.
  • Lufkin is allowing 16.4 points per game, and has 12 sacks, while forcing eight turnovers -- four interceptions and four fumbles.
  • College Station is averaging 44.6 points and 401.4 yards per game -- 168.2 rushing and 233.2 passing.
  • Cougars senior quarterback Brandon Williams has accounted for 17 of his team's 29 offensive touchdowns.
  • College Station is allowing 14.2 points per game, and has two sacks, while forcing 14 turnovers -- 10 interceptions and four fumbles.
Lufkin WR Ja'Lynn Polk. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Lufkin passing attack vs. College Station secondary. The Panthers were able to survive an offseason injury to starting quarterback Kewone Thomas with three wins in four tries in non-district. But Thomas is back now, and he's had two district games to get back into rhythm leading into the Panthers' biggest game of the 2018 regular season. Last season, Thomas passed for more than 2,300 yards and 20 touchdowns in leading Lufkin to the Class 6A Division II state quarterfinals. In his first two games of action this season, Thomas' stats have been modest through the air with 292 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions. The receiving corps is a deep one with Ja'Lynn Polk, Titan Williams, and Christian Reggie leading the way. Running backs Qu'vontae Smallwood and Caleb Berry are also capable pass-catchers out of the backfield.

Lufkin DE Breylon Garcia. (© Clint Buckley, ETSN.fm)

College Station's defense could be the best defensive unit Lufkin has faced so far this season. The Cougars come into Friday's game allowing a little more than 14 points per game, and their secondary is a big reason why. College Station has 10 interceptions on the season, and is led by the tandem of cornerback Ryan Stapp and Brandon Joseph. Stapp has two interceptions and has broken up 11 passes, while Joesph is second on the team in tackles, and has a team-best three interceptions to go with seven pass break-ups, and two forced fumbles. If the Cougars' secondary can force Thomas into some mistakes, that could the turn the tide in College Station's favor.

Don't be surprised if: Friday's games is low-scoring. While both Lufkin and College Station average more than 40 points and 400 yards per game, the defenses for each team are two of the best units in the state at the Class 5A level. The Cougars rode that defense all the way to a state championship a season ago, and this year's version has picked up where 2017's group left off. Lufkin has five Division I recruits on the defensive side of the ball, led by a linemen trio of ends Breylon Garcia and Javasia Brunson, and nose guard Carl Williams. In the back end, junior safety Jerrin Thompson could be East Texas' highest-rated prospect in the 2020 recruiting class.