By: Misty Boggs
As the final seconds of the clock ticked off, a victorious Lufkin Panther team headed for the sideline to celebrate something that has not happened since 2008. The new bi-district champions won, 35-20, against defending title holders, the Dekaney Wildcats, at Bower Stadium, Sam Houston State University, on Nov. 16.
In the first quarter, Lufkin beat Dekaney to the scoreboard, putting up the first touchdown of the night. Kendrick Mapp carried the ball across the goal line making it a 13-7 game after a Dekaney touchdown. Second quarter was all Lufkin with a pass to Taylor. Lufkin led at the half, 20-7.
In the third, the Panthers pushed for a two-point conversion on a Mapp touchdown and were able to make it 28-14 by the end of the quarter. In the last five minutes of the game, the Pack scored again to make it 35-14. Dekaney would score on a break-away run, putting up the last points of the game, 35-20.
Tyler Stubblefield, who recently signed with Texas A&M, threw for 322 yards, completing 18 out of 30 passes, three for touchdowns. JaBryce Taylor received six of those passes for 59 yards. Kendrick Mapp scored two touchdowns in the match-up as he rushed for 207 yards.
Lufkin Head Coach Todd Quick gave all of the credit to his team. “99 per cent of this is kids believing they could do it,” he said. For Quick, defeating Dekaney came down to one thing. “We knew (Dekaney) would push in the second half,” he said. “At some point, on third down, you have to make the play. I’m pleased with how they fought the adversity.”
The Panthers will fight to keep the winning tradition alive and well while claiming the regional title against newly crowned district champs Pflugerville (8-3), at 2 p.m. at Bryan High School on Nov 24.
To view the game in its entirety, visit www.lufkinpanthertv.com!