Lufkin trying to get back on track

back-on-trackThe margin of error is almost gone for the Lufkin Panthers. A shootout home loss to Beaumont West Brook has left the Panthers alone in fifth place in the District 12-6A standings.

With only three weeks left in the season, another loss may be tough for the Pack to overcome. With that in mind, the Panthers make their second trip of the season to Shenandoah’s Woodforest Bank Stadium to take on the Oak Ridge War Eagles tonight.

Oak Ridge currently sits alone in fourth place in the district, meaning Lufkin has the opportunity to begin a climb up the standings starting tonight.

“We’ve dug ourselves a hole,” Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said. “We know we’re a lot better football team than what the scores have been showing. Now we have to go win a game on Friday night.”

The Panthers will look for that win against an Oak Ridge team that is also desperate for a victory. Following a 42-2 loss to The Woodlands last week, Oak Ridge needs a win either against Lufkin this week or next week at Beaumont West Brook just to have a chance at the postseason.

Oak Ridge is led by former John Tyler head coach Dereck Rush.

In the last matchup between the teams in 2013, the Panthers rolled to a 42-10 win. The last time Lufkin faced Oak Ridge at Woodforest Bank Stadium, the Panthers picked up a 24-0 win in a game that was called early in the second quarter due to lightning in the area.

“We’re familiar with them and familiar with Coach Rush,” Quick said. “They’re going to come out and play hard.”
Oak Ridge has been an up and down team this season, on its way to a 4-4 and 2-2 record. It has the same amount of points given up as points scored (180).

On the offensive side of the ball, the War Eagles have gone to a new quarterback in Reinard Britz. So far this season, he has completed 18-of-48 passes for 239 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

“He’s a good handler,” Quick said. “He’s not as fast as the one we saw last week, but he’s a similar type of player.”

Bishop Durst started the season as quarterback and completed 52-of-101 passes for 697 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions. He has since moved to receiver.

Kyle Townsend is the team’s leading receiver with 25 catches for 313 yards and four touchdowns.

Jimmie Moore has run for 483 yards and seven touchdowns at running back.

“The running back runs the ball well and they’ve got good receivers,” Quick said. “They’ve got pretty good size on the offensive line. It will be a challenge.”

While Oak Ridge’s offense averages a district low 230.8 yards per game, the defense has been a different story. The War Eagles have allowed 283.8 yards per game, which ranks them second in the district behind The Woodlands.

In comparison, Lufkin’s defense has allowed a district worst 499.6 yards per contest.

“Their defense has pretty good size up front and the secondary is athletic,” Quick said. “Offensively we need to keep on doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve really been clicking on that side of the ball.”

Kickoff for Friday’s game at Woodforest Bank Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.

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