Seventh-Ranked The Woodlands Takes Down Lufkin, 63-42
[By Josh Havard, Special to ETSN.fm]
SHENANDOAH -- With the Lufkin Panthers renewing an old rivalry, it was The Woodlands Highlanders that delivered a reminder of how the series had gone in recent years.
The Highlanders scored touchdowns on their first nine drives of the night and racked up over 600 total yards of offense on their way to a 63-42 victory over the Panthers, their fifth win in their last six tries in the series.
Eric Schmid threw for 272 yards and six touchdowns on 15-of-16 passing and Dylan Casey caught six passes for 141 yards and two scores as the Highlanders overshadowed a Lufkin offense that put up plenty of prolific numbers of its own.
"We have to get better," Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said. "We have to get well, get everybody back on the field."
Lufkin's offense had another big night against a Highlander defense that had allowed a total of 44 points in the first four games of the year.
Kordell Rodgers threw for 387 yards and five touchdowns on 30-of-47 passing to lead an offense that gained a total of 484 yards.
Malik Jackson made eight catches for 166 yards and two scores, but the Panthers simply couldn't keep up with a Highlander offense that couldn't be stopped.
In the opening half, the offenses traded long drives with the Highlanders standing tall with a 35-21 lead.
Scoring on each of its first five first-half possessions, the Highlanders' offense racked up 365 yards before the break.
The Highlanders started the scoring with Chris Stewart taking a short pass, making a Lufkin defender miss and running the remaining 18 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
After Lufkin went three and out on its first drive, Schmid hit Casey for a 51-yard touchdown for a 14-0 advantage midway through the opening half.
With the game looking like it may get away from the Panthers, Lufkin came up with the big play to get back in it.
Facing a fourth-and-10, Rodgers hit a wide open Jackson for a 45-yard score that trimmed the margin to 14-7.
The Woodlands answered with its longest drive of the first half, going 75 yards on 11 plays in 5:35. The drive was capped by Jordan Talford scoring on a 2-yard touchdown run that gave The Woodlands a 21-7 lead.
The Panthers answered on the following drive with Rodgers eluding the Highlanders' pass rush and lofting a pass to Jackson, who made a nice catch for a 35-yard touchdown that cut the deficit to 21-14 with 7:53 left in the first half.
The Woodlands wasn't fazed as Carter caught a deep pass from Schmid, made a Lufkin defender miss just by the sideline then finished a 51-yard touchdown pass that gave the Highlanders their 14-point lead back at 28-14.
The Panthers answered for the third time as they put together a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a Kahlil Brown 1-yard touchdown run, making it 28-21 with 2:44 left in the first half.
The Woodlands added a final touchdown just before the half as Schmid used a play action pass to hit a wide open Grant Murphy for a 1-yard touchdown and a 35-21 lead
In the opening half, Schmid was nearly perfect for the Highlanders, completing 13-of-14 passes for 208 yards and four touchdowns. Dylan Casey was his leading target with five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Lufkin's offense was able to keep the Panthers within striking distance thanks to Rodgers, who threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-22 passing. Malik Jackson caught four passes for 102 yards and both scores.
The Woodlands quickly added to that lead in the second half. After forcing a three and out, Talford broke free for a 59-yard run then scored from 3 yards out to put the Highlanders on top 42-21.
Lufkin cut the margin back to two scores with Jackson making a spectacular 44-yard catch to set up a 7-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Jamel Richemond that cut it to 42-28 with 7:56 left in the third quarter.
That score lasted all of two plays as Carlos Ramos scored on a 20-yard run to up the lead back to 49-28.
The Woodlands added another touchdown on a nice play from Schmid, who eluded the Lufkin rush and hit Connor Klapesky for a 20-yard score that made it 56-28 with 3:42 left in the third quarter.
Lufkin stalled that momentum with a 16-play drive that resulted in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Breylon Garcia, making the score 56-35.
Once again, that momentum didn't last long with Schmid hitting an open Casey for a 44-yard touchdown that pushed the lead to 63-35 with 10:53 left in the game.
The Panthers got on the board again with Rodgers hitting Ja'Tavion Tutt for a 19-yard score that made it 63-42 with 7:31 remaining.
From there, the Highlanders ran off most of the remaining 7:30 with their backups to salt away the win.