Coming into last week’s action, the Beaumont West Brook Bruins were riding high, carrying a 6-0 record for one of their best starts in recent memory. West Brook was alone at the top of the district and looking to stamp itself as a legitimate district title contender.
Instead they were on the wrong end of a 72-7 blowout against The Woodlands Highlanders. The Bruins allowed 44 first-half points and never threatened. While that may be a tough pill to swallow, the Panthers aren’t expecting easy sledding when West Brook visits John Outlaw Memorial Field at Abe Martin Stadium on Friday night.
“They’re still a good team with a bunch of athletes,” Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said. “We’re going to have to play good football if we want to beat them.”
The Bruins feature an offense that averages 461 yards per game and averaged 41 points per game before last week’s loss.
West Brook uses an offense that averages close to 300 rushing yards per game but is also a threat through the air.
Joel Denley leads that rushing attack with 837 yards and nine touchdowns on 103 carries. He is second in the district in rushing.
He has plenty of help as James Jones has 451 yards and seven touchdowns on 51 carries.
“(Denley) is a good back with good speed and he runs hard,” Quick said. They’ve got a couple of guys on the line that are 6’5” and 330 pounds. That gives you a couple of matchup problems so you have to adjust to that.”
West Brook features a pair of running backs that provide different looks.
Marcus Johnson has thrown for 1,054 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions on 65-of-97 passing.
L’Ravien Elia is more of a running threat as he has 453 yards and seven touchdowns on 74 carries.
“We have to be aware of who’s in the game because those two guys bring different things to the game,” Quick said. “They’ve got one quarterback that is more of a throwing threat and another guy who is more of a running threat.”
Kandin Robertson is possibly the team’s biggest playmaker as he has 33 receptions for a district-leading 714 yards to go along with seven touchdowns.
“He may be the fastest kid on the field for them,” Quick said. “They have another kid (Damon Ward) that is a really good looking kid. He hurt his ankle against The Woodlands, but we expect he’ll be back out there.”
Lufkin counters with an offense that doesn’t take a backseat to any team. The Panthers are first in the district both in points (44.5) and yards (476.5) per game.
Kordell Rodgers leads the district with 2,007 yards and 22 touchdowns while only throwing two interceptions. He also leads the district in completion percentage, completing 122-of-179 of his passes.
Dhailon Phillips leads the district in receptions (35) and ranks second in yards (646) and fourth in touchdowns (5).
Malik Jackson is also among the district leaders with 27 catches for 618 yards and seven touchdowns.
Kahlil Brown is third in the district with 620 yards and 11 touchdowns.
West Brook has featured one of the best defenses in the district, allowing 279.9 yards and 24 points per game despite The Woodlands’ offensive explosion last week.
“They run a three-man front and their inside guys are big,” Quick said. “Their linebackers can run and the secondary allows you to use seven guys to stop the run. We need to win the one-on-one battles at receiver to open things up.”
The Panthers’ defense has had plenty of struggles in their two losses, allowing 69 points against Shreveport Parkway and 63 against The Woodlands.
Lufkin’s defense is ranked last in the district, allowing 448.3 yards per contest.
“The main thing for us is we have to tackle better,” Quick said. “The kids have been working hard and now they need to take that to the field.”
Kickoff for Friday’s game is slated for 7:30.