LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Lufkin Panthers are coming off an emotional, long-awaited win after beating Longview last Friday night 35-24. However, another heated rivalry is in store now that Lufkin and Nacogdoches are meeting this week.
The Dragons also opened the season with a strong statement win, rolling over Kilgore 48-21.
While the emotions ran high in last year's duel, errors plagued the Dragons and Lufkin was able to blank out Nacogdoches 38-0.
This year, they're anticipating a much more competitive contest.
Looking back at Nacogdoches' quarterback Noah Hildebrand's performance last Friday night, he showcased that he's no rookie to the offense anymore. After moving to Nacogdoches last year, he's more settled in entering his second season- which the Panthers realize. But Lufkin also has a little bit of a chip on their shoulders after beating Longview.
"If he throws the ball up I'm going to get it no matter what if I'm at corner," said junior cornerback Jeremiah Davis. "I'm not going to say that he's not going to have any completions against me, but I'm going to try my best to shut down the receivers."
"He looked really good and real polished," said head coach Todd Quick. "He was real efficient with the ball. He gave a ball for them to catch. They're pretty balanced. They're only about three percent more on run or pass and they're real balanced on what they do offensively, but they got Hildebrand back. He's the leader of that group and those kids respond to him."
Nacogdoches has won two of the last three games against Lufkin and both of those wins were at Dragon Stadium. The Panthers will have to make that trip again to Nacogdoches Friday night, with a 7:30 p.m. kick off time.