West Monroe Pulls Away From Lufkin In Fourth Quarter For 44-36 Victory
SHREVEPORT, La. -- For the second consecutive week, the Lufkin Panthers rallied from a large first-half deficit. Except this time, their opponent finished the job in the fourth quarter.
Lufkin, which trailed by 17 in the second quarter, cut the deficit to two points in the third, before Louisiana power West Monroe pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 44-36 win late Friday night as part of the annual Battle on the Border event at Independence Stadium.
The Panthers (1-2) couldn't quite repeat last week's comeback heroics, when they rallied from 39 points down to score a stunning 52-49 overtime win over Tyler Lee.
Instead, West Monroe's powerful rushing attack, led by sophomore quarterback Slade Bowen, closed the door on Lufkin's chances of consecutive come-from-behind wins with a pair of crushing fourth-quarter scoring runs.
Bolden finished the night with a team-best 199 rushing yards and two touchdowns, including his 61-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter that gave West Monroe a 37-28 lead after Lufkin trimmed the deficit to two points.
The Rebels (2-0), who lost starting quarterback Jon Randall Benton to an apparently serious leg injury on their first series of the game, played two quarterbacks the rest of the way -- Bolden and Robert Scott Foust.
But it was Bolden who did most of the damage, all of it coming on the ground, on option keepers.
West Monroe attempted just seven passes on the night, but countered that by running for 441 yards on 60 attempts. Fullback DeMichael Shelton ran for four short-yardage touchdowns and finished with 95 yards on 15 carries, while tailback Trey Coleman ended his night with 13 carries for 74 yards.
After Bolden's long scoring run, West Monroe added to the lead midway through the fourth. And it came after Lufkin's only turnover of the night -- an interception of Lufkin's Kordell Rodgers by Sawyer Passman.
Shelton broke free for a 48-yard run to the Lufkin 1, and scored on the next play to push the Rebels' lead to 44-28 with 3:16 remaining.
The Panthers answered promptly with a 69-yard scoring drive in 1:24. Rodgers connected with Ja'Darrien Bennett for 40 and Kenneth Warren for 24 yards on consecutive plays, and scored on a Dalvin Smith 1-yard run.
Rodgers ran in the two-point conversion, leaving Lufkin down 44-36 with 1:54 to play, but West Monroe recovered the onside kick, and picked up two first downs to run out the remainder of the clock.
Lufkin totaled 405 yards of offense on the night. Rodgers was 20 of 38 for 234 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 47 yards on nine rushing attempts. Javante Ellington caught two touchdowns, Jeremiah Davis had four catches for 57 yards and a score, and Bennett had 70 yards and a touchdown on three receptions.
Smith was the Panthers' leading ground-gainer, finishing with 65 yards and a TD on 13 carries. Ellis Jackson had 13 carries for 51 yards on the night.
Lufkin trailed 17-0 after Ian Alexander's 33-yard field goal midway through the second quarter. But, the Panthers caught a break when West Monroe muffed a punt inside its own 30.
Rodgers connected with Ellington for a 7-yard touchdown to trim the deficit to 17-7, and Lufkin cut the Rebels' lead to 17-14 on its next series, scoring on Rodgers' 27-yard touchdown pass to Bennett with 49 seconds remaining in the half.
However, West Monroe regained momentum after Bolden's 65-yard kickoff return set the Rebels up at the Lufkin 30. West Monroe converted a third-and-long to the Lufkin 1, and Shelton scored on the next snap, which gave the Rebels a 24-14 lead with 10 seconds to play until halftime.
It got even worse for Lufkin to start the third quarter, as West Monroe marched down the field on the second-half's opening possession. Bolden's 18-yard touchdown run, which was followed by a missed extra point, increased the Rebels' lead to 30-14 with 8:59 showing on the third-quarter clock.
But the Panthers rallied, scoring touchdowns on their next two drives -- a 36-yard pass from Rodgers to Davis, and an 8-yard strike to Ellington, which cut West Monroe's lead to 30-28 with 2:37 remaining in the third.
Lufkin forced a three-and-out on the ensuing series, but its drive stalled inside the West Monroe 40, and the Rebels took over on their own 12 early in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for Bolden's long scoring run.
The Panthers are off next week, and begin District 16-5A play on Sept. 25 at home against Nacogdoches. West Monroe hosts Madison (Miss.) Central next Friday night.
West Monroe (La.) 44, Lufkin 36
At Independence Stadium, Shreveport, La.
West Monroe 7 17 13 14 -- 44
Lufkin 0 14 14 8 -- 36
WM--DeMichael Shelton 1 run (Ian Alexander kick), 6:23.
WM--Shelton 2 run (Alexander kick), 11:32.
WM--FG Alexander 33, 7:34.
LUF--Javante Ellington 7 pass from Kordell Rodgers (Rodrigo Molina kick), 5:01.
LUF--Ja'Darrien Bennett 27 pass from Rodgers (Molina kick), :49.
WM--Shelton 1 run (Alexander kick), :10.
WM--Slade Bolden 18 run (kick failed), 8:59.
LUF--Jeremiah Davis 36 pass from Rodgers (Molina kick), 6:33.
LUF--Ellington 8 pass from Rodgers (Molina kick), 7:37.
WM--Bolden 61 run (Alexander kick), 9:16.
WM--Shelton 1 run (Alexander kick), 3:16.
LUF--Dalvin Smith 1 run (Rodgers run), 1:54.
First Downs 24 21
Total Yards 495 405
Rushes-Yards 60-441 38-171
Passing Yards 54 234
Comp.-Att.-Int. 3-7-0 20-39-1
Punts-Avg. 4-30.8 6-32.2
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-50 11-78
RUSHING--West Monroe, Slade Bolden 23-199, DeMichael Shelton 15-95, Trey Coleman 13-74, Robert Scott Foust 3-37, Charlie Harvin 3-20, Jon Randall Benton 2-11, Jake Norris 1-5. Lufkin, Dalvin Smith 13-65, Ellis Jackson 13-51, Kordell Rodgers 9-47, Javante Ellington 1-5, Khalil Brown 2-5.
PASSING--West Monroe, Foust 3-7-0--54. Lufkin, Rodgers 20-38-1--234, Blake Brooks 0-1-0--0.
RECEIVING--West Monroe, Norris 2-34, Chandler Neal 1-20. Lufkin, Jeremiah Davis 4-57, Dhailon Phillips 4-38, Ja'Darrien Bennett 3-70, Ellington 3-21, Kenneth Warren 2-31, Malik Jackson 2-18, Ellis Jackson 2-(-1).