Lufkin + John Tyler Clash in All-East Texas First-Round Playoff
CLASS 6A DIVISION II
Region II Bi-District Playoff
Lufkin Panthers (7-3)
John Tyler Lions (9-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler
- Lufkin: Todd Quick
- John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
- Winner faces either Dallas Jesuit or Garland Naaman Forest, 6A Division II, Region II area-round playoff
- QB Kordell Rodgers, Sr., 6-0, 175 (199 of 311, 3,088 yards, 30 TDs, 2 INTs; 76 carries, 267 yards, 8 TDs; committed to Texas State)
- WR Dhailon Phillips, Sr., 6-3, 195 (60 catches, 1,016 yards, 9 TDs)
- RB Kahlil Brown, Sr., 5-10, 193 (147 carries, 823 yards, 16 TDs; 7 catches, 110 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Malik Jackson, Jr., 6-0, 170 (44 catches, 916 yards, 9 TDs)
- CB Jeremiah Davis, Jr., 6-0, 180
- WR Javante Ellington, Sr., 5-5, 140 (31 catches, 454 yards, 4 TDs)
- WR Breylon Garcia, Soph., 6-4, 210 (24 catches, 269 yards, 2 TDs)
- OL Hunter Hollis, Jr., 6-3, 295
- QB Bryson Smith, Sr., 6-0, 175 (142 of 239, 2,371 yards, 26 TDs, 6 INTs; 128 carries, 1,240 yards, 15 TDs; committed to Houston)
- WR/S Damion Miller, Sr., 6-2, 195 (29 catches, 693 yards, 7 TDs; 25 tackles, 1 INT, 4 PBUs, 1 blocked kick; committed to Texas)
- DE DeKalen Goodson, Jr., 6-3, 215 (59 tackles, 18 for loss, 11 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 2 PBUs)
- DE Howard Hawkins, Sr., 6-0, 265 (65 tackles, 19 for loss, 8 sacks, 20 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
- LB Tre Allison, Jr., 6-2, 200 (93 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 INT, 3 PBUs)
- RB Cameron Grant, Soph., 5-9, 170 (121 carries, 779 yards, 9 TDs; 6 catches, 55 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR/CB Javontavius Mosley, Sr., 6-2, 175 (46 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 INTs, 14 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery; 4 catches, 125 yards, 2 TDs; committed to UTSA)
- WR Ke'Andre Street, Soph., 6-4, 195 (20 catches, 394 yards, 6 TDs)
Just the facts
- This is the 57th all-time meeting between John Tyler and Lufkin, but first in the playoffs. John Tyler leads the all-time series, 28-25-3.
- John Tyler and Lufkin have met four times over the last four seasons with John Tyler winning three of the four.
- Lufkin is averaging 43.4 points and 473.5 yards per game -- 157.7 rushing and 315.8 passing.
- The Panthers pass the ball 48.5 percent of the time.
- Lufkin shares one common opponent with John Tyler. Lufkin defeated the Longview, 35-24 in Week 1, while JT beat the Lobos, 38-24, in Week 9.
- John Tyler is averaging 44 points and 499.7 yards per game -- 258.7 rushing and 241 passing.
- Lions quarterback Bryson Smith is averaging 361.1 yards from scrimmage per game.
- The cumulative record of John Tyler's 10 opponents this season is 47-53.
Key matchup: Lufkin passing attack vs. John Tyler secondary. There have not been very many quarterbacks in East Texas more efficient or productive than Lufkin senior Kordell Rodgers, a Texas State commit. Rodgers passed for more than 3,000 yards during the regular season with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 30:2. In addition, he completed passes at a 64-percent clip and spread the wealth to a number of receivers. Leading the way in the pass-catching department is the duo of senior Dhailon Phillips and junior Malik Jackson. They share the team lead with nine touchdown receptions, and with 84 more receiving yards, Jackson will join Phillips in the 1,000-yard club. Phillips is an outside receiver, while Jackson typically lines up in the slot. But when Lufkin spreads it out with four receivers, the other side of the field can be just as deadly. Sophomore Breylon Garcia is mismatch for most cornerbacks with his 6-4, 210-pound frame, while slot receiver Javante Ellington's small size (5-5, 140) makes him a tough cover for outside linebackers and even safeties.
John Tyler has not faced an offense as vertical as Lufkin's all season long. So far, the Lions' defense has performed well, but mostly against teams with run-first mentalities. John Tyler senior cornerback Javontavius Moseley, a UTSA commit, is one of the best defensive backs in East Texas and his size and physicality would mesh well against either Phillips or Garcia on the outside. Defending the rest of Lufkin's passing game will be a test of both John Tyler's personnel and in-game strategy. If the Lions trust that rush-ends DeKalen Goodson and Howard Hawkins, who have combined for 19 sacks this season, can get enough pressure on Rodgers without sending extra rushers, John Tyler can afford to play its linebackers back in coverage. However, Rodgers is dangerous when escaping the pocket. His overall rushing numbers might not demonstrate it, but the Lufkin quarterback is more than capable of making defenses pay for flushing him out of the pocket -- both with his legs and his arm.
Don't be surprised if: Both teams feature their running backs even more than usual. The objective for both the Lufkin and John Tyler defense will be stopping the opposing quarterback. The Lions defense will attempt to knock Rodgers out of his rhythm by either bringing a heavy rush, spying on him with a linebacker, or both. Lufkin, meanwhile, has the unenviable task of contending with John Tyler star quarterback Bryson Smith, who is just as dangerous on the run as he is from the pocket. Smith has 3,611 total yards and 41 touchdowns on the year. Fortunately for both teams, they have a reliable running back they can turn to in order to take pressure of the quarterbacks. Kahlil Brown is that man for Lufkin, and he enters Friday night with more than 800 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. Sophomore Cameron Grant, who did not take over as the starter until Week 6, is a little more than 100 yards shy of Brown and has run for at least 100 yards in four of his last five games.