Lufkin + Tyler Lee Tangle In Search Of First Win Of 2015
Lufkin Panthers (0-1)
Tyler Lee Red Raiders (0-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
- Lufkin: Todd Quick
- Tyler Lee: Darrell Piske
- Lufkin: vs. West Monroe (at Shreveport), Sept. 11
- Tyler Lee: vs. John Tyler, Sept. 11
- DL Bronson Massie, Sr., 6-3, 215
- OL Jerrod Johnson, Sr., 6-3, 285
- QB Kordell Rodgers, Jr., 6-0, 175
- RB Ellis Jackson, Sr., 5-8, 170
- WR Malik Jackson, Soph., 5-9, 155
- WR Dhailon Phillips, Jr., 6-3, 195
- WR/DB Jeremiah Davis, Soph., 6-0, 175
- WR/DB Savon Fields, Soph., 5-8, 160
- QB Zach Hall, Sr., 5-11, 170
- RB Tavon Wesley, Sr., 5-11, 190
- WR Isjuwan Barker, Jr., 6-3, 185
- WR Tyrec Grayson, Sr., 5-8, 145
- LB Campbell Miller, Jr., 6-2, 245
- DL John Samples III, Sr., 6-3, 250
- WR Mason Parker, Sr., 5-10, 165
- WR/DB Jordan Devers, Sr., 6-0, 180
Just the facts
- This is the 55th meeting between Lufkin and Tyler Lee. Lufkin leads the all-time series, 37-16-1.
- The series has been much closer since 1990, with Lufkin holding a 14-10 advantage.
- Lufkin is 6-6 since the beginning of the 2014 season. The Panthers' six losses have come by a combined 21 points.
- The Panthers have won seven of their last eight matchups with Lee, outscoring the Red Raiders on average, 38-25.
- Lufkin's non-district record since 2012 is 3-6.
- Tyler Lee is 1-7 in season openers since 2008.
- In last week's season opener, Lee allowed 59 points. The Red Raiders allowed 50 or more points in a game three times last year.
- Lee's non-district record since 2012 is 5-7.
Key matchup: Lufkin running game vs. Tyler Lee defensive front. With so much youth and inexperience at both quarterback and receiver, it should've come as no surprise that Lufkin relied heavily on its rushing attack in last week's season opener at Longview. And the Panthers got a big lift from senior running back Ellis Jackson, who seems to get the most out of his undersized frame. Jackson ran strong against a physical Lobos defensive front last Friday night, picking up 159 yards on only 17 rushing attempts -- an average of more than nine yards per carry. Dalvin Smith is another option out of the backfield, and while he's not as explosive as Jackson, he can serve Lufkin well in short-yardage and goal-line situations. One of the biggest reasons why the Panthers' ground game has the chance to be a strong suit this season is Lufkin's massive offensive line, which is anchored by senior Jerrod Johnson and junior Joseph Bell.
Tyler Lee, like last season, struggled in every facet of the game on defense in last week's season-opening loss to Keller Fossil Ridge. The Red Raiders allowed 544 total yards, and it was equally distributed -- 287 rushing and 257 passing. Fossil Ridge averaged more than eight yards per play, which spelled disaster for a defense that is trying to turn things around following an awful 2014 season. After last week's performance, there will be several doubting the Red Raiders' chances of defensive improvement this year. However, if Lee can take advantage of a Lufkin offense full of sophomores and juniors, the jury may still be out. By taking away Lufkin's effectiveness on the ground, Lee can then begin to put pressure on Panthers junior quarterback Kordell Rodgers and his collection of young receivers -- junior Dhailon Phillips and sophomores Malik Johnson and Jeremiah Davis.
Don't be surprised if: Friday night's meeting turns into a shootout. Despite its Week 1 defensive woes, Lee still managed to have a productive night on offense. The Red Raiders put up 513 yards, including more than 300 on the ground. Star quarterback Zach Hall, reportedly playing with flu-like symptoms, competed only 5 of 16 pass attempts and ran for only four yards. Don't expect to see another subpar performance from Hall, who amassed almost 4,000 total yards of offense in 11 games as a junior. Lee's running game could be set up for success as well. The duo of Tavon Wesley and Datavion Thacker combined for 201 yards and three touchdowns on only 23 attempts -- an average of 8.7 yards per carry. Lufkin was vulnerable against the run a week ago, allowing 271 yards on the ground to Longview. The Panthers' offense should only get better with the young collection of talent now having a full game under their belts.