The Lufkin Panthers are no strangers to the College Park Cavaliers. Since joining the same district, the teams have met on a yearly basis in a one-sided rivalry in which Lufkin has yet to lose to the Cavaliers.
That includes Lufkin’s 58-17 win over College Park in the district opener last season. This season, Lufkin enters as one of the top teams in the district while College Park was picked by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football to finish in last place.
While the odds would say Lufkin is an easy favorite when the teams meet in the district opener on Friday night, the Panthers aren’t taking anything for granted.
“Right now everyone’s 0-0,” Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said following a 47-7 win over Monterrey Prepa Tec on Friday night. “It’s good to have a few wins, but none of that matters now. Everyone gets a clean slate.”
The Cavs have had their ups and downs in the early going, although the last two weeks have shown they may be ready to take the next step.
Two weeks ago, College Park took a narrow 20-19 win over Deer Park before dropping a 19-13 decision to a formidable A&M Consolidated team.
In that two-week span, College Park’s defense has been a formidable unit after a 49-14 setback against Tomball in the season opener.
The Cavs return only four starters on defense this season, although they have their share of playmakers including Cooper Lucas, a defensive back that had 87 tackles and four interceptions last season.
Adam Myres is also another top player in the secondary.
Others to watch on College Park’s defense are linebackers Christian Carroll and Hayden Stark and defensive lineman Austin Fox.
In last week’s game, College Park forced three turnovers and held a potent A&M Consolidated offense to 19 points.
While the defense has been formidable, the offense has struggled throughout the season, averaging just over 15 points per game.
The Cavs struggled to get anything going in last week’s contest when they were held to 130 yards, including 17 rushing yards on 27 attempts.
Of those 130 yards, nearly half of those came on one play when Jake Hunnicut hit Peyton Sobosie for a 64-yard touchdown in the game.
However, when College Park got one final chance to score, it could only muster a single first down before turning the ball over on downs inside its own territory.
In that loss, Hunnicutt threw for 111 yards on 7-of-18 passing with an interception.
The Panthers will look to add to those woes after a recent stretch of strong play. In last week’s win, Lufkin held Monterrey to a total of 197 yards.
Kickoff for Friday night’s game at Woodforest Bank Stadium is slated for 7:30.