PREVIEW: No. 5 Lufkin Draws McKinney North in First Round
CLASS 5A DIVISION I
Region II Bi-District Playoff
McKinney North Bulldogs (6-4)
No. 5 Lufkin Panthers (9-1)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin
- McKinney North: Mike Fecci
- Lufkin: Todd Quick
- McKinney North: lost to Mesquite Poteet, 53-39
- Lufkin: def. Waller, 38-7
- Winner vs. Frisco Lone Star or Mansfield Legacy, Class 5A Division I area playoff
Players to watch
- QB Cam Constantine, Sr., 6-0, 193 (58 of 86, 836 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs; 102 carries, 656 yards, 3 TDs)
- DL Landon Teel, Sr., 6-2, 265
- TE Brandon Frazier, Jr., 6-7, 231 (31 catches, 393 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Hunter Chae, Sr., 5-10, 185 (155 carries, 1,004 yards, 12 TDs; 8 catches, 85 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Manny Fincher, Jr. (173 carries, 867 yards, 12 TDs; 5 catches, 54 yards, 1 TD)
- QB Dillon Markiewicz, Jr., 6-5, 216 (65 of 111, 829 yards, 10 TDs, 4 INTs; 37 carries, 54 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Holt Harvey, Sr., 6-2, 180 (19 catches, 357 yards, 3 TDs)
- WR Noah Ford, Jr., 6-2, 170 (19 catches, 277 yards, 2 TDs)
- QB Kewone Thomas, Sr., 6-2, 170 (51 of 71, 901 yards, 14 TDs, 3 INTs; 60 carries, 298 yards, 7 TDs)
- WR Ja'Lynn Polk, Jr., 6-2, 175 (26 catches, 554 yards, 7 TDs)
- NG Carl Williams, Sr., 6-4, 306 (20 tackles, 4 sacks, 4 QB pressures; committed to Arkansas)
- S Jerrin Thompson, Jr., 6-0, 170 (77 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 INT, 11 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
- DE Breylon Garcia, Sr., 6-4, 230 (53 tackles, 10 for loss, 7 sacks, 13 QB pressures)
- DE Javasia Brunson, Sr., 6-4, 235 (34 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks, 10 QB pressures, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 defensive TD)
- LB Deandre Bagley, Sr., 5-11, 185 (82 tackles, 11 for loss, 7 sacks, 7 QB pressures, 1 INT, 3 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 defensive TD)
- WR Titan Williams, Sr., 5-9, 166 (32 catches, 556 yards, 8 TDs; 10 carries, 144 yards, 2 TDs)
Just the facts
- McKinney North is averaging 38.1 points and 444.6 yards per game -- 276.4 rushing and 168.2 passing.
- The cumulative record of McKinney North's opponents is 48-50 (.490).
- Bulldogs running backs Hunter Chae and Manny Fincher are combing to average 5.7 yards per carry.
- McKinney North is allowing 33.6 points per game.
- Lufkin is averaging 43.3 points and 395.7 yards per game -- 217.1 rushing and 178.6 passing.
- The cumulative record of Lufkin's opponents is 49-40 (.551).
- The Panthers have six players with at least 144 rushing yards on the season.
- Lufkin is allowing 12.3 points per game.
Key matchup: McKinney North rushing attack vs. Lufkin defensive front. The strength of the Bulldogs' offense is unquestionably on the ground. McKinney North enters the playoffs with three players accumulating at least 656 rushing yards during the regular season. Running backs Hunter Chae and Manny Fincher have combined for almost 1,900 yards and 24 touchdowns, while part-time quarterback Cam Constantine averages 6.4 yards per rushing attempt. The Bulldogs don't shy away from the passing game, whether it's Constantine or Dillon Markiewicz taking the snaps. Those two have combined to pass for more than 1,600 yards and 17 touchdowns, but the Bulldogs are at their best when they are able to impose their will up front and grind on opposing defenses.
Lufkin's defense is among the very best in the entire state, and it's best at stopping the run. The Panthers are allowing just 65.9 rushing yards per game, and a minuscule 2.1 yards per attempt. Armed with three Division I recruits on the defensive line, Lufkin has made life difficult for opposing offenses in 2018. Nose guard Carl Williams, who has missed significant time this year, takes on double teams and is committed to Arkansas. Ends Breylon Garcia and Javasia Brunson have combined for nine sacks and 13 tackles for loss. If by chance McKinney North's backs are able to escape the backfield, linebackers Deandre Bagley and Christian Garner, and safety Jerrin Thompson are there for support.
Don't be surprised if: Lufkin flexes its muscles in front of a huge home crowd Friday night. The Panthers are loaded with a strong senior class aiming to accomplish something that hasn't been done in Lufkin since 2001: win a state championship. The playoff opener seems like the perfect time for the Panthers seniors to put on a show one last time at Abe Martin Stadium before the remainder of the postseason takes them all across the state. Since a 35-28 Week 1 loss to Longview, which is still undefeated in Class 6A, Lufkin has outscored the opposition, 405-88.