Lufkin picked third in district by Texas Football

The annual release of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine means the return of Friday Night Lights is just around the corner.
According to this season’s edition, which hit newsstands in the past week, Lufkin has reason for optimism despite losing several talented players off of last season’s team which advanced to the postseason for the 19th straight time before falling to Longview in the opening round.
The Panthers are predicted to finish in third place in District 12-6A behind The Woodlands and Beaumont West Brook.
They will likely have their hands full with a district that is strong at the top after the Highlanders advanced to the state championship game last season. The Wodlands is picked as the eighth-ranked team in the state according to both the Texas Football staff as well as coaches from across the state.
The Highlanders are the only team picked among the state’s Top 40 teams by Texas Football.
Beaumont West Brook, which is picked second, finished in second place last season on the way to an 11-2 record and a spot in the regional semifinals. The Bruins return 13 starters from last year’s team.
Lufkin is picked to finish in third place, followed by Montgomery, Oak Ridge, Conroe and College Park.
If preseason predictions hold true to form, the Panthers would have another first-round meeting with Longview, which is picked to finish in third place in District 11-6A.
The Panthers had a trio of players that received individual recognition.
Isaiah Phillips, who saw action both at linebacker and running back last season, is named as “Best of the Rest” at running back in the list of Top 300 recruits.
In addition, Malik Jackson was named in the Top 30 receivers in the state among the Top 300 recruits. Last season, he finished with 916 yards and nine touchdowns at receiver.
Breylon Garcia was named as one of the Top 100 juniors in the state at wide receiver.
Players to watch for the Panthers were WR Malik Jackson, RB/LB Isaiah Philips, OL Quynton Coe, DL Jamaal Arthur, WR/DB Savon Fields and OL Hunter Hollis.
The top junior was Garcia with Ja’Lynn Polk listed as the top sophomore.
Other prospects for Lufkin were K Rodrigo Molina, CB Damond Moreland, FS Trey McDaniel and ATH Jeremiah Davis.
The Top 10 6A teams in the state are Converse Judson, Katy, Allen, Cibolo Steele, DeSoto, Lake Travis, Austin Westlake, The Woodlands, Cedar Hill and North Shore.
Other top-ranked teams in the state are Manvel (5A), Carthage (4A-DI), Gilmer (4A-DII), Cameron Yoe (3A-DI), Lexington (3A-DII), Mart (2A-DI), Tenaha (2A-DII), Happy (1A-DI) and Richland Springs (1A-DII).
Lufkin will open the season on Sept. 1 when it travels to face Longview, the 35th-ranked team in 6A. The Panthers will also face the 23rd-ranked John Tyler Lions.

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