LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It has been almost exactly nine months since the John Tyler Lions ended the 2016 season for the Lufkin Panthers in the Bi-District Playoffs.
Ever since that loss the team has been hard at work looking for redemption.
"Lufkin pretty much has a lot of rivalries with the teams they face," running back Isaiah Phillips said. "Everyone wants to beat Lufkin. I have only been here since the start of high school. I learned about this rivalry with JT my sophomore year."
If the team wants to beat a tough Lions team, they will need to cut down on penalties and turnovers.
"We got to clean up what we do," head coach Todd Quick said. "We have to get better at what we do heading into the district race."
Four times last year, the Pack gave up over 40 points in losses. One of those times was against John Tyler.
"We weren't wrapping up, linebacker Jackson Treadwell said. "A big part of the defense is wrapping up and securing the tackle. I think we got that down."
For team leaders the loss last year was a wake up call.
"It felt bad," Treadwell said. "We all thought we had it. We just didn't follow through right."
The team is hoping to build on the momentum that they got after beating Nacogdoches 45-28 last week.
"We are just playing the same," Phillips said. "A little bit harder and hitting the holes a little faster."
If you think the team needs motivation, you might want to hold off on that.
"Just playing a good quality team is motivation," Quick said. "You want to do good. You are playing at home. We know them. We know who they are. We know what they stand for and we know how they play. That is motivation enough. You don't have to get kids motivated for something like this. Kids will motivate themselves."
Kickoff for the game is 7:30 pm. It will be the second of three straight home games for the Pack.