WACO, TX (KTRE) - It was a tough trip to Waco on Saturday for the Lufkin Panthers as they lost to Frisco Lone Star 49-12 in the Area round of the playoffs.
Two early turnovers gave the Rangers a 14-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game.
“You cannot turn the ball over at this level and give a team like them a chance to score,” Head Coach Todd Quick said.
Lufkin would battle back to make it a 14-14. The tie would not last long as the Rangers would score on a crucial third down pass from Julian Larry to Marvin Mims.
Coach Quick and the offense would have one more shot before half but Titan Williams fumbled the ball near the goal line as he tried to extend the play.
The second half was not friendly to the Lufkin offense led by thrid-string quarterback Jahrell Stevens, who was brought in after the Panthers pulled Kewone Thomas due to what appeared to be a shoulder injury.
Lone Star outscored Lufkin 28-7 in the second half, which included a 91 yard pass play on third and long by Mims.
“You can not let a player like that have an opportunity to make plays,” Quick said. “He is an exceptional player and if you do not bring him down he will hurt you.”
In total, Lufkin has 6 turnovers by the end of the game.
The Panthers year ended earlier then most fans expected. The jump from 6A to 5A was met with excitement. That excitement grew as Lufkin steamrolled through a 9 game winning streak that included knocking off College Station, the 2017 5A DII State Champions, and McKinney North in the first round of the playoffs.
Lufkin will look to be strong on offense next year with Ja’Lynn Polk returning on the outside, Jordan Moore at quarterback and the duo of Caleb Berry and Qu’vontae Smallwood in the backfield. The defense will need to look to new leaders as the senior class will leave a lot of holes with Carl Williams, Breylon Garcia, Javasia Brunson, Deandre Bagley and Demond McKelvey all graduating.
“It was a great group of seniors,” Quick said. "What they have done the last two years is special. They have led this team on and off the field and done it with dignity. They are a good group of kids. It is hard to tell how we will look with those guys leaving but we will see who will step up and take those spots. It is time to get to work in the off season and see where we can go.”
Lone Star will move on to face John Tyler in the 4th round of the playoffs next week.