LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Of the 19 area teams that have qualified for the playoffs, only a few are playing better football than Lufkin. The Panthers enter their bi-district round game against Atascocita having won 4 in a row, while outscoring their opponents 149 to 57. That once five game skid now seems like a distant memory.
Senior safety Michael Farley says, "One point of time we were all down, we were going down hill, but we had that faith and confidence that we could turn it around and that's what we did." Head coach Todd Quick added,"I think our speed of the game is what has increased here, we have gotten a lot faster and I think that just comes from being sure of what you are doing."
Having scored 31 or more points in every game during the win streak while not giving up more than 19 is a clear sign the pack is hot when it matters most. "On both sides of the ball we are playing great football," Farley said. "Defensively, we are keeping teams from scoring, offense just keeps scoring, we just keep doing what we are doing and we are clicking at the right time."
Dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball has been key. Running back Stephen Sowell and the Panthers run game has been outstanding, thus opening up the entire offense.
Senior offensive lineman Dominick Hall says, "When we run, they start getting nervous and start moving people up to stop the run and then we just throw it right behind them. When we make a big play it just kills their confidence and once their confidence is gone, they have nothing." Quick added,"Because we have the ability to run the football and have been, that's going to open up the chance for that big play because you are going to have 1 on 1 coverage when they start loading the box to stop the run."
Defensively, the recipe for success has been less ingredients. Lufkin is also healthy on that side of the ball and is playing together as one cohesive unit. "We have cut down on some of the stuff we have asked them to do and its made them more relaxed out there and play, and not worry about messing up," Quick says. Farley added, "It just feels like we are out there free, but we still have to do the little things, we have to read our keys and all stuff like that. We have to make them work hard, we are not going to let them get anything free, nothing cheap."