LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin's season opener is a storyline made for a movie, but the storyline hasn't had the fairytale ending the Panthers have wanted in recent years.
For a third season in a row, Lufkin is kicking things off against Longview. The Lobos are also the very same team that has ended the Panthers season for the past two years.
The two East Texas powerhouses have faced off four times in the last two seasons, with the Lobos winning the last three meetings.
That losing feeling is something the Panthers are tired of taking. While getting a win for the season opener is important, this game means much more than just a tally in the win column.
"This is big. This is bigger than just a regular preseason game," said Lufkin head coach Todd Quick. "It's a pride thing and we're tired of losing. I don't like the last three times and the kids don't either."
"I know I have a strong emotion towards them. I'm tired of losing to them. It's my senior year and I'm tired of getting beat so I'm ready to go out there and get a win," said senior linebacker Torand Grisby. "We got to show them that we're here, we're ready to play and we can back it up to. We can fight back too. We don't care about the loses that we took. We're here and this is now."
Lufkin will host Longview at Abe Martin Stadium, Friday night, starting at 7:30 p.m. Playing at home as been the Panther's saving grace. The one win Lufkin has had in the past four meetings was their season opener at home against Longview in 2014.
This matchup will also be the Red Zone Game of the Week which premiers Friday night.