LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It's going to be a big game come Friday night for the Lufkin Panthers as they are in somewhat of a losing slump at the moment.
Coming off of back-to-back losses, the Panthers now have the task of taking on the Whitehouse Wildcats.
"Them knowing that we've lost two games in a row, they might be looking past us thinking we're not ready or something, but we're definitely going to come out hot," said Lufkin punter Jerry McCarty.
Being 0-1 isn't how any team hopes to start district play, but it's now up to the Panthers to pick up the pieces.
"Our team mood right now is basically we need a big win right now. We're really fired up, pumped up, and ready for this game," said McCarty.
Out of the two losses, the toughest one to accept was the one against Nacogdoches in the district opener. Being in a district with schools like John Tyler and Ennis, every game matters.
"This game is going to be real crucial coming down to playoffs," said Lufkin safety Zach Thompson. "That's all we're really focusing on. We got to win this one. We got another big one coming up so we really need this game."
The good thing about playing the Wildcats though is that they too are 0-1 in district after losing to John Tyler last week 52-17
"We're definitely not looking past them. We're looking at them in front of us like we need to win and we're definitely not going to think that we're so much better than them," said McCarty.
"It's like a redemption game for both of us," said Whitehouse cornerback Nate Brooks. "We're both fighting off a loss and it will probably determine how our season ends up."
The Pack are notorious for filling up their stands and with it being Homecoming this Friday, they hope that will create more havoc for Whitehouse.
"Homecoming's a big deal and a big game. Everyone wants a win. Everyone wants to see a big win and good game," said McCarty. "This could be a boost for Lufkin's self-confidence as a community."
If there's anything both teams are desperate to avoid, it's being 0-2 in a district of doom.
"This district is full of good teams," said Whitehouse defensive end Nick Costlow. "I know if you're 0-2, you're going to be a little bit behind John Tyler, Lufkin, and Ennis, so staying up there is pretty necessary right now."