Tyler Lee Squanders Opportunities to Upend Class 5A No. 5 Lufkin
LUFKIN -- KeKe Coutee returned an 80-yard punt with 3:21 to go in the first half of a 43-19 Lufkin win against Tyler Lee.
The Red Raiders' special teams gaffe allowed the Panthers to open up a 26-19 lead after Lee climbed back from a worst-case scenario start, but it also gave Darrell Piske's team a two-for-one opportunity. With plenty of time and a timeout remaining in the half for a drive, Lee also was set receive the second half kick.
Quarterback Zach Hall led the offense 56 yards in 10 plays to the Lufkin 19 yard line on the final drive of the frame. The unit had burned the timeout earlier in the sequence but had enough time for a heave to the end zone, a spike if the clock ran on a reception and then a field goal. The Panthers defense bowed up, sacked Hall and forced a fumble recovered by the offense with 11 seconds remaining in the half.
Lee couldn't get back to the line for a spike and time expired.
The Red Raiders missed a 40-yard field goal on their opening possession of the second half. Lufkin took the ball, went 86 yards in 10 plays and upped the lead to 33-19 when running back Steven Sowell ran in a one-year score.
With that, the Pack looked like a safe bet to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2011.
"It feels good," Sowell said surrounded by fans and friends. "We won the first game last year and then in the second game we ran into these guys and lost to Tyler Lee. We couldn't allow that to happen again."
Sowell finished his night with two touchdowns and 172 yards on 15 carries.
Lee (0-2) wanted to avenge last week's 48-26 loss against Keller Fossil Ridge and came out with an innovative game plan.
The Red Raiders tried to play less straight forward against Lufkin. Motions and sweeps were a huge part of the play-calling.
Lee used 10 unique ball carriers on the way to 201 rushing yards.
Hall completed 11 of 18 passes for another 91 yards against the Panthers.
"I thought in the first half our angles were bad and we were getting outflanked on the edge," Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said. "We adjusted our linebackers. We were trying to keep our linebackers closer to the box just because of the quarterback. Their quarterback can run and their tailback can to. Last year they ran the ball on us.
"They did a good job of adjusting. They knew when we were playing the middle and started working the edge. We have to do a better job of adjusting on the run with our linebackers. It'll come. We'll be able to teach off the film. It's a process and a growing thing. We'll get there soon."
The critical sack, the missed field goal, five punts, a fumble lost and 11 penalties for 85 yards kept the Red Raiders from capitalizing time and time again.
Lufkin put up 380 total yards and scored on 6 of 9 full possessions in addition to Coutee's 80-yard punt return. Quarterback Trey Cumbie went 12-for-19 with 131 yards and one passing score.
"I want to do whatever it takes for the team to get the win," Cumbie said. "Whether we run it 40 times a game or throw it 40 times a game, we're all about winning here. We did enough to win the game tonight."
Lee running back Tavon Wesley recorded a season-best 61 rushing yards. Hall was not far behind with 47 yards, including a 15-yard score which cut Lufkin's lead to 20-19 with 8:46 to go in the second quarter.
Coutee, who now has two punt returns for touchdowns in two games, caught five passes for 51 yards. Terry Mark had 42 yards on four catches.
Lee's schedule does not get any easier. It takes on unbeaten John Tyler on Friday.
Lufkin will put its winning streak on the line next Satruday against River Ridge (La.) John Curtis at Shreveport's Independence Stadium.
"At Lufkin, this is expected," Cumbie said. "We want to deliver."
No. 5 Lufkin 43, Tyler Lee 19
At Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler
Tyler Lee 9 10 0 0 -- 19
Lufkin 13 13 7 10 -- 43
LUF--Steven Sowell 8 run (Javier Montes kick), 10:55
LUF--Kordell Rodgers 23 pass from Trey Cumbie (kick failed), 9:08
LEE--Campbell Miller sack in end zone, 6:24
LEE--Trevor Carr 2 run (Matthew Hawk kick), 2:51
LEE--Hawk 34 field goal, 11:55
LUF--Sowell 21 run (Montes kick), 11:33
LEE--Zach Hall 15 run (Hawk kick), 8:46
LUF--KeKe Coutee 80 punt return (kick failed), 3:21
LUF--Sowell 1 run (Montes kick), 5:08
LUF--Ellis Jackson 4 run (Montes kick), 7:48
LUF--Montes 19 field goal, 3:36
First Downs 21 19
Total Yards 292 380
Rushes-Yards 48-201 33-249
Passing Yards 91 131
Comp.-Att.-Int. 11-18-0 12-19-0
Punts-Avg. 5-29.6 2-16
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 3-1
Penalties-Yards 11-85 8-74
RUSHING--Lee, Tavon Wesley 13-61, Zach Hall 15-47, Zach Smith-Dunn 6-31, Mason Parker 2-23, Juwan Banks 3-16, Tyree Grayson 3-10, Mark Russell 2-5, Cameron Holmes 1-5, Trevor Carr 3-4. Lufkin, Steven Sowell 15-172, Jackson Ellis 7-15, TEAM 1-(-13), Trey Cumbie 1-(-1).
PASSING--Lee, Hall 11-18-0-- 91, Mark Russell 0-2-0--0. Lufkin, Cumbie 12-19-0--131
RECEIVING--Lee, Parker 2-19, Isjuwan Barker 2-14, Jordan Devers 1-12, Juwan Banks 1-11, Jaryd Tatum 1-10, Carr 1-7, Dante Johnson 1-7, Devonte Craver 1-4. Lufkin, KeKe Coutee 5-51, Terry Mark 4-12, Kordell Rodgers 1-23, Demarrea Houston 2-10.