LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin football always brings us something to look forward to every Friday night under the lights, and with a new batch of fresh faces this year the expectations are no different. Young leaders will be expected to step up to make a name for themselves as they represent the name of their city.
"It's a new year, new Lufkin. We're very excited to be back out here on the field, together as a team and we're ready to get it on," said quarterback Kordell Rodgers.
Rodgers will be Lufkin's new starting quarterback.
He's a junior with varsity experience at cornerback, but he's ready to offer the city of Lufkin something else. Monday may have been the first day of practice, but this transformation started months ago.
"It started the first day of spring ball," said head coach Todd Quick. "Coming into spring ball after that second day, he's gotten better every day since then so we're really excited about him."
"Over the summer I've just been doing quarterback drills. It's been me and Coach Green and we have a good connection getting ready for the season," said Rodgers.
Standing at six feet tall, Rodgers isn't scared to step outside the pocket. It may be his first year at quarterback but he's made an impression that he can make quick, veteran-like decisions on the fly.
"What his strength is, is being able to extend the play," Quick said. "You can't cover him forever, so if things break down, he has the ability as he's being chased to find the open receiver or know when it's time for him to run."
Quick added that almost every position is open right now and they certainly have a pool of players to choose from.
Rodgers may have several interchangeable targets this year including Malik Jackson, Jeremiah Davis and Savon Fields- just to name a few.
The offense isn't alone in welcoming new faces. The defense also has just four starters returning including Bronson Massie.
The defensive end recorded 55 tackles and six sacks last year, and with seven collegiate offers is expected to lead.
"He's a big, tall, athletic guy and has a real fast motor. He chases the football no matter or where it's at. He gives great effort so we're just trying to increase the package that he has," Quick said
"They're going to play regardless. The younger dudes that are coming up, they got heart and heart takes you a long way," Massie said.
Young hearts will need to pull through in the "District of Doom" where Lufkin's been picked to finish third.
The Panthers schedule will wait for no age to mature, as they'll be opening against Longview August 28th in Longview.