They Meet Again: Rivals Lufkin + Longview Clash In Rematch Of Season Opener
CLASS 5A DIVISION I
Region II Bi-District Playoff
Lufkin Panthers (6-4)
Longview Lobos (8-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
- Lufkin: Todd Quick
- Longview: John King
- Winner faces Dallas Kimball-Mansfield Lake Ridge winner, Class 5A Division I area playoff.
- WR KeKe Coutee, Sr., 5-10, 170 (52 catches, 724 yards, 11 TDs; 8 carries, 40 yards)
- OL Erik McCoy, Sr., 6-4, 290
- WR Terry Mark, Sr., 6-2, 180 (38 catches, 703 yards, 12 TDs; committed to Houston)
- QB Trey Cumbie, Sr., 6-2, 195 (130 of 187, 1,914 yards, 27 TDs, 4 INTs; 49 carries, 184 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Steven Sowell, Sr., 5-9, 170 (181 carries, 1,336 yards, 18 TDs; 11 catches, 91 yards)
- DE/OLB Bronson Massie, Jr., 6-3, 210
- DL Tyrique Spencer, Sr., 6-2, 240
- FB Blake Johnson, Sr., 5-10, 180 (8 carries, 83 yards, TD; 6 catches, 70 yards, TD)
- RB JaMycal Hasty, Sr., 5-9, 181 (1 catch, 18 yards in 1 game; committed to Baylor)
- OL Broderick Washington, Sr., 6-3, 290 (committed to Texas Tech)
- RB Tylan Miller, Jr., 5-9, 205 (159 carries, 1,177 yards, 14 TDs; 8 catches, 145 yards, TD)
- FB Marquies Hunter, Sr., 5-11, 240 (66 carries, 481 yards, 8 TDs; 10 catches, 116 yards)
- QB Dezmond Chumley, Sr., 6-1, 190 (62 of 109, 1,164 yards, 8 TDs, 7 INTs; 50 carries, 205 yards, 9 TDs)
- DE Omar French, Sr., 6-0, 202
- LB Jaylon Jackson, Sr., 6-0, 210
- WR Antonio Carter, Sr., 6-2, 180 (27 catches, 412 yards, 5 TDs; 1 carry, 34 yards, TD)
Just the facts
- This is the 76th all-time meeting, and second this year, between Longview and Lufkin. Longview holds a slim, 36-35-4 edge in the series.
- Friday night will mark the eighth time Longview and Lufkin have met in the playoffs. Lufkin has won four of the previous seven, including 31-21 and 24-21 wins in 2002 and 2004, respectively.
- Lufkin is in the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season. The Panthers are 27-15 in the playoffs during that stretch, but just 4-8 since 2006.
- Lufkin is averaging 43.3 points and 406.1 yards per game -- 212.4 rushing and 193.7 passing.
- Lufkin's four losses have come by a combined 19 points.
- Longview is in the playoffs for the 14th consecutive season. The Lobos are 26-10 under coach John King in the postseason, 9-1 in bi-district games.
- Longview is averaging 42.8 points and 411.5 yards per game -- 277.2 rushing and 134.3 passing.
- Longview is outscoring teams by an average of 35.4 points during its current eight-game winning streak.
Key matchup: Lufkin rushing attack vs. Longview defensive front. Lufkin features one of the most explosive and balanced offensive attacks in all of East Texas, averaging well over 200 yards rushing and nearly 200 passing yards per game. With a quarterback like Trey Cumbie, who's on the back stretch of what has been an impressive two-year run at the position, and veteran FBS targets at receiver like KeKe Coutee and Terry Mark, there were very few questions about Lufkin's passing game coming into the season. And for the most part, the Panthers were excited about what they could accomplish on the ground with the return of running back Steven Sowell, who put together a 1,000-yard season as a junior. The passing game, while not as prolific as 2013, has again been a dynamic ingredient to Lufkin's offensive approach. But it's the running game, led by Sowell, that's taken the Panthers' offense to a new level this season. Sowell has been about as consistent as can be, eclipsing the 100-yard mark in eight of his 10 games this season. His 1,336 yards and 18 touchdowns are already well above the figures he finished with a season ago, and Sowell has become the driving force behind an offense that's averaged more than 40 points and 400 yards per game. His rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns in Lufkin's 44-14 season-opening win over Longview on Aug. 29.
Longview is playing as well as any team in East Texas at the moment, having won eight consecutive games, and the majority of those in blowout fashion. The offense has had to work around the graduation of several important pieces off last year's team, including its three leading receivers from 2013 -- Dorian Leonard (Texas signee), Jordan Whitaker and Chris Pellum. Longview has also had to play without its best offensive weapon -- running back and Baylor commit JaMycal Hasty -- for the most of the season. Hasty made his season debut in last week's win over Hallsville after missing the first nine games because of a back injury. The offense has come on as the season has progressed, but the defense has turned up its play after being dominated in the first games. Since allowing 85 points in back-to-back losses to Lufkin and John Tyler to begin the year, the Lobos have surrendered a total of just 106 points -- an average of 13.3 points over the previous eight games. Getting senior defensive end Omar French, who missed the first half of the year with injury, back in the middle of the season has helped Longview's defense more closely resemble last year's unit that dominated opposing offenses. Everyone will have a chance to see just how far Longview's defense has come since Week 1 this Friday night against a Lufkin offense that put up 44 points and 414 yards on Longview in the opener.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game between the longtime rivals is much more competitive than the first installment this season. Way back in Week 1, Lufkin was clinging to a 21-14 lead with about two minutes to play until halftime when everything changed in the blink of an eye. When the Lobos got the ball back, they fumbled, which allowed Lufkin to kick a field goal to extend its lead to 10 points. Longview's offense failed to move the ball on the ensuing drive and the Lobos were forced to punt with 13 seconds remaining in the half. They made the mistakes of kicking the ball to Coutee, who returned the punt 86 yards to the end zone as time expired, giving Lufkin a 31-14 halftime lead. Those 17 points scored in the final two minutes of the opening half spelled doom for Longview, which had to break out of its comfort zone of handing the ball off to its compliment of backs. Longview quarterback Dezmond Chumley, who was still getting accustomed to a completely new crop of receivers, never found his groove. He finished 6 of 14 for 98 yards with an interception. Longview struggled once again the following week against John Tyler, but ever since a trip across the state line into Louisiana for a clash with Monroe Neville in the annual Battle on Border Showcase in Shreveport, the Lobos have been playing good football. Meanwhile, Lufkin found life in the new 16-5A challenging, losing its three district games by a combined 12 points. But as they say, character is revealed through adversity, and both Longview and Lufkin have dealt with their fair share of that this season.