Sophomore Standouts Shine as Tyler Lee Knocks Off Lufkin, 42-30
TYLER — The 2016 class must have Tyler Lee fans really excited.
A week after sophomore quarterback Zach Hall accounted for more than 400 yards in a five-score win at Sulphur Springs, he and classmate Tavon Wesley spearheaded a Red Raider offense that propelled Lee to a 42-30 victory against favored Lufkin at the Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic at TMF Rose Stadium.
The win is Lee’s first against the Panthers since Oct. 2003 and snaps a 10-game losing streak to Lufkin. The Red Raiders, who have already exceeded their 2012 win total (1-9), face cross-town rival John Tyler next Friday.
“We’ve just gotta keep focused and keep working hard,” said Lee second-year head coach Darrell Piske. “We haven’t even started district yet. It’s all great to be 2-0 but I could be 0-5 and if we win those last 11 games we’d be pretty excited. That’s our big deal. Just stay focused.”
Hall sealed the win with a 14-yard touchdown run on third-and-2 with 48 seconds left that gave the Red Raiders their 12-point victory margin. The athletic 5-foot-10, 155-pounder completed 9 of 15 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown, and one interception and ran 24 times for 150 yards and the late-game score.
Wesley ran 15 times for 125 yards and three touchdowns, including first-half scoring runs of 25 and 63 yards. The sophomore duo accounted for 91 percent of Tyler Lee’s 478 total yards. Junior running back Marquian Jones added 53 yards on six carries. His three-yard touchdown run with 3:48 left in the third quarter gave Lee a 28-23 lead the Red Raiders did not relinquish.
Lee (2-0), which has scored 97 points in its first two games, outgained Lufkin 478-397, including a 316-60 rushing advantage.
Lufkin junior quarterback Trey Cumbie played very well, completing 26 of 46 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns. Texas A&M-bound senior Jamal Jeffery caught eight passes for 130 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown with 5:11 left that cut Lee’s lead to 35-30. Texas-committed junior KeKe Coutee caught nine passes for 95 yards and a score, while junior Terry Mark caught five passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. Lee stifled Lufkin junior tailback Steven Sowell for 44 yards on 16 carries, but he caught three passes for 44 yards and a score.
Lee started fast. Wesley scored from 25 yards and Hall hit Diondre Allen down the home sideline for a 79-yard touchdown and 14-0 lead less than six minutes into the game. Lufkin settled down, answering with a 32-yard Trey Cumbie touchdown pass to Steven Sowell on a screen, then a safety to cut the deficit to 14-9.
Wesley scored from 63 yards for a 12-point Lee advantage, but Lufkin’s defense stiffened, holding the Red Raiders scoreless for 18 1/2 minutes. During that span, Cumbie hit Texas-bound junior KeKe Coutee for an impressive, leaping 24-yard touchdown pass 90 seconds into the second quarter. Terry Mark’s 35-yard tackle-breaking touchdown catch-and-run a minute and a half into the third quarter put Lufkin ahead 23-21.
That was Lufkin’s first and last lead of the game.
Lee’s running game got going again, but not before a pivotal third-and-10 Red Raider takeaway in Lufkin territory. Junior linebacker Brandon Durman forced a fumble that senior defensive end Amier Wilson recovered at Lufkin’s 26-yard line with 5:33 left in the third. Lee scored five plays later on Marquian Jones’ three-yard run to regain the lead, 28-23, with less than four minutes to play in the third.
“Our coaches did a good job of recognizing what they were doing (defensively),” Piske said. “We made them, with what we did in the first half, change their defensive game plan. So we had to come back, once they had changed, we had to change the way we attacked them. I thought (offensive coordinator) coach (Dan) Roberson and those guys, they did a good job, the kids executed, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Lee forced a Lufkin punt before staging a decisive nine-play, 82-yard drive capped by Wesley’s 11-yard touchdown run with 9:07 remaining for a 35-23 lead.
Offense wasn’t the only side of the ball Lee had sophomore who delivered.
Kicker Michael Blas hit all six of his extra-point attempts, while linebacker Michael Dorsey and defensive back Isjuwan Barker played well all evening. But Taylor, one of the Red Raiders’ senior stalwarts, put the icing on the cake when he sacked Cumbie with 12 seconds remaining.
Lee senior linebacker Desmond Dunn had two tackles for loss. Lufkin senior safety Michael Farley claimed the game’s only interception. Lufkin senior defensive end Darren Robins recorded game-high three tackles for loss.
Lufkin visits Nacogdoches next Friday.
Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic
Tyler Lee 42, Lufkin 30
Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler
Lufkin — 9 7 7 7 — 30
Tyler Lee — 14 7 7 14 — 42
LEE — Tavon Wesley 25 run (Chris Blas kick) — 8:42
LEE — Diondre Allen 79 pass from (Blas kick) — 6:15
LUF — Steven Sowell 32 pass from Trey Cumbie (Timmy Martinez kick) — 2:52
LUF — Safety — 2:36
LEE — Wesley 63 run (Blas kick) — 11:49
LUF — KeKe Coutee 24 pass from Cumbie (Martinez kick) — 10:28
LUF — Terry Mark 35 pass from Cumbie (Martinez kick) — 10:30
LEE — Marquian Jones 3 run (Blas kick) — 3:48
LEE — Wesley 11 run (Blas kick) — 9:07
LUF — Jamal Jeffery 42 pass from Cumbie (Martinez kick) — 5:11
LEE — Hall 14 run (Blas kick) — 0:48
RUSHING — Lufkin: Steven Sowell 16-44, KeKe Coutee 1-12, Josh Tolbert 1-6, Jamal Jeffery 1-1, Trey Cumbie 4-(-3). Tyler Lee: Zach Hall 24-150 (1 TD), Tavon Wesley 15-125 (3 TDs), Marquian Jones 7-53 (1 TD), Marquiston 2-6, TEAM 2-(-18).
PASSING — Lufkin: Trey Cumbie 26-46-0 337 (4 TDs). Tyler Lee: Zach Hall 9-15-1 162 (1 TD).
RECEIVING — Lufkin: KeKe Coutee 9-95 (1 TD), Jamal Jeffery 8-130 (1 TD), Terry Mark 5-63 (1 TD), Steven Sowell 3-44 (1 TD), Kenny Gilbert 1-5. Tyler Lee: Marquiston Williams 3-34, Bryce Wilkerson 3-31, Diondre Allen 1-79 (1 TD), Paxton Potter 1-17, Marquian Jones 1-1.