LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A lot has happened since Lufkin took one on the chin in a week one loss to the Lobos.
The team has grown up and posted one of their best season in recent history. Now thier toughest test will be on Saturday at 2 pm when they take on Longview in the state quarterfinals at SFA.
"We are a lot more seasoned," Lufkin Coach Todd Quick said. "We did not play many people and this last week we played 19 on defense. We have gotten more seasoned.
Longview coach John King knows Lufkin is not the same.
"We don't put any stock in that game or the year before, or the year before that."
Longview won that game 35-16 with Adarius Carter leading the offense at quarterback but a switch to Haynes King can make the Lobos a serious attack through the air. Anyone in doubt just needs to watch the highlights of their comeback victory over Klein Collins.
"People around him play good and that makes a quarterback better," King said. "This is a team game and we are not going to put too much pressure on one single guy."
Quick knows he is in for a test with King under Center.
"They were able to capitalize on the pass," Quick said. "He is a good player and he coachable. They are still going to go playaction and run the ball. It is what he has always done and he always will."
From the Pack's side, Kewone thomas has grown into the roll of being a starter and with the support of Isaiah Phillips, Malik Jackson and Jay'lon Polk, the pack can score from the air and the ground. But the biggest improvement with Lufkin might just be the defense.
"We are more mentally tough," safter Bug Thompson said. "We are way more mental than we were week one. We are playing as a team way better and we are working togehter as one."
Through their 13 games, Lufkin has given up 257 points. That is a big improvement to last year where the same defense gave up 391 points in just 11 games. They are also winning the turnover battle.
"We will have to try to run it a little better," King said. "that is easier said than done. Lufkin is playing really good right now."
"We know this is different," Longview fullback Paul Hutchins said. " This game is going to be a whole lot better. This is going to be a whole lot better team than the first time."
With this being one of the biggest games ever in the series, Quick may have said it best.