Lufkin Advances With 35-18 Victory Against Richardson Pearce
CORSICANA--It began with a defensive stop and ended with a Kewone Thomas touchdown.
After forcing Richardson Pearce to go three-and-out, Lufkin scored the first touchdown of the second half. This all took place before two minutes had gone by.
It was the start of a stellar second half for the Panthers, who would go on to defeat the Mustangs, 35-18 on Saturday to advance to the regional semifinals.
"We kind of adjusted to what we were doing," coach Todd Quick said. "We came out sloppy and had some penalties that hurt us. I was happy with how we came out in the second quarter and carried it on in the second half."
Lufkin committed eight penalties in the first half, but narrowed it down to just two in the second. After Pearce scored a touchdown to take a 10-7 lead in the second quarter, the Panthers scored 28 straight to put the game away for good.
The Panthers did not allow any points in the second half until 4:55, when the game was well out of reach for the Mustangs. Lufkin forced three turnovers -- all interceptions -- and held a team that was averaging 7 yards per carry to just 65 yards rushing.
The two interceptions in the second half halted potential scoring drives for Pearce, which had marched close to the red zone. Quick said his team's defensive play, especially the run defense, won it the game.
"We rely so much on the run and we understand how big it is," Quick said. "If you can run on somebody, you can do what you want to do. If somebody can run on you, it is a bad thing. We tried to do all we needed to stop the run. First down is a big down to get them in that long yardage situation and then play the defense you want to for pass."
The Panthers had no trouble moving the ball on the ground.
Lufkin finished with 327 yards rushing. Isaiah Phillips led the team with 192 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. He delivered arguably the dagger when he broke free for a 10-yard scamper to the end zone with 7:54 left to put Lufkin up by 25.
This kind of play from their star running back is nothing new to the Panthers, though.
"Isaiah has been our guy all year," Quick said. "We know we've got to keep him healthy. Our offensive line did a great job blocking. I think the biggest thing was our two inside receivers blocking their 80 techniques, those two outside linebackers. They did a great job. There's a reason why that speed option with him and Kewone (Thomas) is working. Malik Jackson and Titan Williams both played really good."
Thomas added 84 yards on the ground and 44 through the air as Phillips' partner in the backfield.
The Panthers will face Westfield next in the regional semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
"We've played Westfield before and we know what they're about," Quick said. "We'll get home and watch some film tonight and more in the morning. There's no time for looking ahead. You've got to take care of the day."
Lufkin 35, Richardson Pearce 18
At Tiger Stadium, Corsicana
Lufkin 0 14 14 7 -- 35
Richardson Pearce 3 7 0 8 -- 18
RP--Daniel Davies 27 field goal, 5:05.
LUF—Isaiah Phillips 9 run (Rodrigo Molina kick), 10:10.
RP—Clay Servin 8 catch from Bo Brewer (Davies kick), 5:48.
LUF—Tre' Grant 9 run (Molina kick), 2:56.
LUF--Kewone Thomas 5 run (Molina kick), 10:18.
LUF--Phillips 1 run (Molina kick), 5:39.
LUF--Phillips 10 run (Molina kick), 7:54.
RP--De'Astone Barlow 3 catch from Brewer (2-point try good)), 4:55.
First Downs 18 14
Total Yards 371 225
Rushes-Yards 46-327 31-65
Passing Yards 44 160
Comp.-Att.-Int. 4-14-1 15-35-3
Punts-Avg. 3-31.3 5-34.6
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 10-100 6-50
RUSHING--Lufkin, Isaiah Phillips 22-192, Kewone Thomas 13-84, Tre' Grant 8-41, Malik Jackson 2-3, Ja'Lynn Polk 1-7. Richardson Pearce, Bo Brewer 12-13, Bo Garner 10-31, DeQuan Landon 9-21.
PASSING--Lufkin, Thomas 4-14-1--44. Richardson Pearce, Brewer 15-35-3--160.
RECEIVING--Lufkin, Titan Williams 1-20, Jackson 1-15, Phillips 1-8, Polk 1-1. Richardson Pearce, De'Astone Barlow 7-51, Ford Woods 2-43, Caleb Hart 2-25, Nick Orlich 2-23, Bo Garner 1-10, Clay Servin 1-8.