LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Five sole wins in a season is not the norm for the Lufkin Panthers, as they are looking to redeem themselves from last year's football season.
They started district play 0-2, but proved they could get back to their winning identity finishing 4-2, earning a playoff berth.
Last year's disappointing season still slightly stings for the Panthers.
"Last year was not a good year for us," said Lufkin quarterback Trey Cumbie. "We expect more playing at Lufkin and this year we're going to turn it around."
"We all know it wasn't a great season. We didn't play to the expectations last season," said Lufkin wide receiver Keke Coutee.
That roller coaster of a season is old news, and what the Panthers have looking forward are several key players returning to make something happen on the field. One of those key players is Cumbie.
"Well, you always want your quarterback back and with the receiving core he's got, it ought to be a pretty good combination between the two," said Lufkin head coach Todd Quick.
That receiving core Quick's talking about includes 6'2'' wide receiver Terry Mark who's committed to play at the University of Houston, and senior receiver Coutee who is the leading receiver in the new district after last year's 1,034 yards for 9 touchdowns.
With several years of playing together under their belts, the chemistry between the three has only gotten stronger entering their senior year.
"Me, Keke, and Terry have been playing together since middle school and I'm real familiar with all them, even the younger guys. We've got a lot of chemistry together now and we're ready to go," said Cumbie.
"Every year we get better and better, and more connected. He (Cumbie) knows where I'm going to be most of the time. I know where he's going to be, so we're just getting more of a connection this season," said Coutee.
It's easy to live up as one of the top projected offenses in the state when you have the versatility the Panthers have in their offense.
"The one good thing is when you have more than one receiver or more than one weapon to use, people can't overload to that side," said Quick.
If teams decide to do that, it will leave other weapons with 1-on-1 coverage that the Panthers feel confident they can get past.
"We're just connecting more and more better. We got a lot more seniors coming back this year so we're just looking to get more crisp and better as we go," said Coutee.
In a district that includes schools like Ennis, Corsicana, John Tyler, Whitehouse, and Nacogdoches, Lufkin has been picked to finish third which would give them a run in the playoffs.