Lufkin Panthers hope for big crowd Friday, Coach Outlaw offers a challenge to fans

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Many East Texas teams are preparing for the first round of the Texas high school football playoffs including the Lufkin Panthers. Tuesday's rain forced them inside but that did not slow or stop practice. Coach John Outlaw says his team is a "focused group of young men" and he doesn't want to see them have another early exit. Outlaw even outlined a challenge to Panther fans this week.

"I need for the panther fans to show up and I need them to be there early when we come out for pre-game warm up," said Outlaw. "We need to get back to what we used to have. We had an unbelievable group of people whenever we came out and they started screaming and this group deserves that too. So we are asking fans to get out there early."

Coach Outlaw has an interesting motive for Thanksgiving this year, he does not want to be home.

"We want to avoid another early exit because our fans are accustom to not having to cook Thanksgiving dinner and their head coach certainly doesn't like cooking that early either," said Outlaw. "I love having practice over the holiday breaks so hopefully we have a group of young men that want to stop the trend of getting knocked out early."

Lufkin has lost three of the last five years in the first round of the playoffs. Kickoff Friday night is set for 7:30pm from Bowers Stadium in Huntsville.