The Lufkin Panthers are tired of being a one-and-done playoff team and the work to put an end to the three-year-spell starts now.
Determined to turn that fortune around is the offensive dynamic duo in quarterback Kordell Rodgers and receiver Dhailon Phillips. For the seniors, it's their last shot at making a lasting impression in Lufkin.
Lufkin is by far the smallest school in their new district, but numbers don't mean anything to the two unless it accounts for how many times they get to the end zone.
The pair are now going into their second year together and Rodgers is coming off a great junior campaign.
In his first year starting under center, Rodgers walked away as the Offensive MVP in one of the toughest districts in the state, with 2,142 passing yards and 23 touchdowns.
Then Phillips, a first-team all-district selection, will be an easy, explosive target who's looking to beat his 599 yard, 6 touchdown season last year.
Rodgers is coming in as the Preseason Offensive MVP of the district, but the individual awards aren't the ones he's chasing.
“I feel excited but it's up to my teammates if I have that or not. We just want to win as one. I don't like the individual awards. We want a team award,” said Rodgers. “For me, I feel more comfortable. Last year was my first year under the center in Lufkin, but this year I have a year under my belt. I know the game speed of varsity and I'm just ready to get it on."
“We got great confidence in each other. I got great confidence in him that he's going to make the throw and he's got great confidence in me that I'm going to make the catch. Our confidence has grown over the past two years and we're really comfortable with each other,” said Phillips.
Lufkin has been picked to finished second in their new district in 6A.
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