Most regular-season games in the state of Texas are rematches from the previous year, as part of a two-year, home-and-home agreement.

But in the case of John Tyler and Lufkin, each team pulled out of the annual Battle on the Border Showcase in Shreveport, La., and agreed to play one another instead.

The Week 3 matchup, scheduled for Sept. 15 at Lufkin's Abe Martin Stadium, is No. 15 on our list of the top 25 games of 2017.

John Tyler and Lufkin did meet last season, but it wasn't until the first round of the playoffs.

John Tyler LB Tre Allison. (© Rob Graham,
John Tyler LB Tre Allison. (© Rob Graham,

A pass deflection on a potential go-ahead, two-point conversion attempt with 1:21 remaining sent John Tyler to a thrilling 50-49 bi-district win. The Lions, champions of District 11-6A, went on to reach the regional semifinals of the Division II playoffs.

John Tyler returns 16 starters from last year's 11-2 team, but did lose three Division I signees to graduation -- quarterback Bryson Smith (Houston) receiver Damion Miller (Texas), and cornerback Javontavius Mosley (UTSA).

Running back Cameron Grant and receiver Ke'Andre Street come back after strong sophomore seasons, while senior wideout Michael Givens-Washington returns after leading the team in receptions in 2016.

Defensively, JT will be led by defensive end and Houston commit DeKalen Goodson and linebacker Tre Allison, who has pledged to SMU.

Lufkin is replacing all but seven starters from last year's 7-4 team that finished third in District 12-6A.

The offensive side of the ball was hardest hit by graduation as the Panthers lost quarterback Kordell Rodgers (Texas State signee) and leading receiver Dhailon Phillips.

However, receivers Malik Jackson (Houston pledge) and Breylon Garcia should give the new quarterback at least a couple of elite weapons in the passing game.

Defensively, Lufkin will be led by junior defensive tackle and Division I recruit Carl Williams, along with senior defensive backs Jeremiah Davis (Louisiana-Lafayette commit) and Savon Fields.’s Top 25 Games of 2017

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