A thrilling win over Oak Ridge was a pivotal one for the Lufkin Panthers’ playoff hopes. Now with a Conroe team that has yet to record a district win coming to town for Senior Night, the Panthers are looking to build upon that momentum and potentially lock up a playoff spot tonight.
Lufkin controls its playoff fate entering the final two weeks of the season, knowing it can lock up a playoff spot with a pair of wins. The Panthers could also clinch a playoff spot tonight with a win combined with a Beaumont West Brook win over Oak Ridge.
“They’re all big at this time of the year,” Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said. “We backed ourselves into a corner and we’re still fighting our way out.”
The Panthers aren’t expecting things to come easy against a Conroe team that is yet to win a district game after posting a 3-1 non-district record.
However, the Tigers feature plenty of offensive firepower after averaging 29 points per contest.
Conroe is led by a pair of playmakers on the offensive side. Running back Donaven Lloyd has run for 1,542 yards and 18 touchdowns on 226 carries this season.
That total leads the district in rushing by more than 500 yards, even though he missed last week’s game.
The Tigers aren’t a one-dimensional team as Colby Kizzie has thrown for 1,429 yards and 13 touchdowns with only four interceptions on 105-188 passing.
His top receiver is Jon Jones, who has 27 receptions for 277 yards.
That should provide a test for a Lufkin defense coming off one of its best performances of the season. After giving up 70 points to Beaumont West Brook in its last home game, the Panthers’ defense stole the show in last week’s win over Oak Ridge.
“We can still get better there, but the big thing was the effort,” Quick said. “Guys that haven’t been making plays were making plays. They were flying around out there.”
While the Conroe offense has been potent, the defense has had its struggles. The Tigers have given up an average of 36 points per game this season. That number has increased in district action where it has allowed 41 points per game.
The Tigers’ playoff hopes are gone thanks to a pair of close shootout losses against Montgomery (43-39) and College Park (38-35). Conroe also suffered blowout losses to Oak Ridge (38-13) and The Woodlands (48-7).
Lufkin’s offense is coming off its lowest point total of the season last week.
“They’ve been pretty good for almost the whole season,” Quick said. “It’s tough to click every time you go out there, but we know we can be tough to stop.”
Kickoff for tonight’s game is set for 7:30. Lufkin’s seniors will be honored prior to kickoff.