Any repeat has to start somewhere. For the Lufkin Panthers’ soccer team, their run at a repeat started with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Sulphur Spring s at Tyler’s Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium Friday night.
Lufkin, the defending Class 5A state champions, fell in a 1-0 hole in the first half but remained unfazed in bouncing back for its eighth straight playoff win.
“We started a little slow, but we didn’t panic,” Lufkin head coach Russell Shaw said. “We knew we had to play better. Dorian Bravo got the equalizer right before the half and I thought that kind of settled everybody down.”
Sulphur Springs took the advantage midway through the first half on a Chris Espinoza goal before Bravo came through with that goal off an Alexis Roque assist on a long throw-in just before the half.
Lufkin then took the lead for good early in the second half as Roque scored a goal of his own for a 2-1 advantage.
The Panthers were able to hang on from there as they won another early-round playoff game in Tyler.
“A lot of people say that first win is the toughest to get,” Shaw said. “There were some nerves involved early on, but the boys stayed in there. We can take some confidence from a win like that.”
With the win, Lufkin advanced to the area round of the playoffs where it will take on Waxahachie. That game will be played on Friday night at 8 at Tyler’s Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
The winner of that game will advance to the regional quarterfinals against the winner of the Mansfield Lake Ridge/John Tyler game.
Members of the 2016 Panthers are Jose Cuc, Polo Cuevas, Sammy Villegas, Gustavo Garcia, Anthony Guzman, Brian Huesca, Jared Vasquez, Hilario Villegas, Alexis Roque, Mauricio Mendoza, Kacy Bennett, Rodrigo Molina, Dorian Bravo, That Lin, Rafael Zavala, Cristhian Pineda, Luis Lopez, Oscar Cordero, Jonathan Silva, Ivan Hernandez, Luis Enriquez, Jonathan Garcia, Darin Hunt and Edgar Anaya.