One of the state’s perennial powerhouses proved to be little more than a small speed bump when the John Tyler Lions visited the Panthers for a key District 12-5A showdown. Lufkin’s defense stood up to the rugged ground game of John Tyler and the offense exploded early before rolling to a 32-8 win at Abe Martin Stadium. Lufkin held John Tyler to 162 yards on the ground with half of those coming on a single play in the fourth quarter.
With the Lions only able to throw for a total of seven yards, the Panthers established they were the aggressors against a team that usually wore down its opponents. The Panthers outgained John Tyler 183-162 on the ground and Reggie McNeal added 128 yards and a pair of passing touchdowns.
With the defenses dominating for most of the first quarter, the only score was Stephen Coker’s 36-yard field goal that gave Lufkin a 3-0 lead. Early in the second quarter, it turned into the McNeal show as Lufkin’s star quarterback hit Quentin Holman for a 51-yard score and a 10-0 advantage. Just over a minute later, McNeal scored on a one-yard score to make it 17-0. The Pack avalanche continued midway through the quarter when Terrance Mott caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from McNeal.
The Panthers then turned to Coker for a 37-yard field goal that made it 26-0 at halftime. With that big lead and John Tyler’s reliance on the ground game, the Lions never had a chance in the second half. The Panthers tacked on a 41-yard Coker field goal for the only points of the third quarter and their biggest lead at 29-0. John Tyler answered with an 81-yard run that set up a short Cliff Edwards touchdown run, making it 29-8 early in the fourth quarter. Coker completed the scoring with a 22-yard field goal that made the final 32-8. With the win, Lufkin improved to 7-1 on the season and 3-0 in district action, setting up a showdown between the 12-5A’s unbeaten teams the following week.