In back-to-back seasons, Lufkin’s district title hopes had come to an end at the hands of the Tyler Lee Red Raiders. In 2001, Reggie McNeal decided enough was enough. The eventual District 12-5A MVP threw a long touchdown pass, caught another and even made three interceptions on the defensive side as the Panthers got some revenge, as well as at least a share of the district title, with a 21-0 win at Tyler’s Rose Stadium.
With McNeal leaving his stamp on the game, the Lufkin defense, which allowed a total of 26 points in five district games, did the rest in making play after play to keep the Tyler Lee offense off track. With its offense struggling throughout the first half, Lufkin relied on its defense to keep them in the lead. The Panthers’ only first half scores were 35 and 44 yard field goals from Stephen Coker.
On Lufkin’s first drive of the second half, the offense finally made its impact. Facing a third and long deep in its own territory, McNeal dropped back and found a blazing Quentin Holman for an 87-yard score and a 12-0 lead. From there, Tyler Lee never seemed to recover as Coker extended that lead to 15-0 with a 45-yard field goal.
Lufkin then used a little style to put the game away as McNeal was on the receiving end of a 25-yard touchdown pass from Terrance Mott that made the final 21-0. McNeal threw for 219 yards and a touchdown and Holman caught three passes for 100 yards in the win. With the win, Lufkin (8-1, 4-0) wrapped up at least a share of the district title while leaving notice it was clearly the class of 12-5A. The last step to a district title would come the next week when longtime rival Longview came to town.