LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The game was set up like a heavyweight fight and the Panthers unfortunately came out on the losing side.
The Highlanders opened up with an uppercut punch on the Pack's defense when Quinton Johnson kept the option and ran 65 yards for a touchdown.
Kewon Thomas though would not let the team be down for long. on the next drive, Thomas would hook up with Malik Jackson but he would be ruled down at the goal line. Isiah Phillips would then come in on the next play and dive over the pileup at the line to make it 7-6. The team would get a bad snap on the PAT and the Panther defense went back to work down by one point. The defense would hold the Highlanders to a field goal to make it 10-6.
Thomas would then drive the Panthers down the field and on a slant pass he would get Ja'Lynn Polk for another score. Phillips would help the pack on the two-point conversion and would give Lufkin their first lead 14-10.
This one would continue to go back and forth with Johnson finding Connor Klapesky for the score to get the Highlanders back on top 17-14. With time continuing to tick down Thomas would find Titan Williams who will fingertip a pass in and score. The Panthers had all the momentum heading into halftime up 21-17.
The second half was a different story from the first half. The highlanders defense would hold the Pack scoreless in the second half and would go on and score 28 unanswered points to win 45-21.
The Panthers loss ends a four game winning streak. The Panthers are now 4-2 on the year and 1-1 in district play. The team is off next week and will play in two weeks in Beaumont against the West Brook Bruins. West Brook moved to 2-0 in district play after they beat College Park on Thursday night. The Bruins are also on a bye next week.
Coach Quick said earlier in the week that the team would have a similar week to what they always do.
"The only difference in the week is that we do not have a game on Friday," Quick said. "Everything else will be the same. You have two types of teams on bye weeks. There are teams that get better and then teams that get worse."
The game against West Brook will have big district implications. If the district shapes out the way it is predicted to shape out, Lufkin will need to win over West Brook in order to have a chance at hosting a first round match up at Abe Martin Stadium. The overall series between the two schools is now tied at 6-6 between Lufkin and The Woodlands.
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