LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Every Friday, the Lufkin defense takes the field with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove.
Last season, the Pack's defense seemed like they could not stop the scoring. The team made a complete 180 this year.
"No one is afraid to hit," Jackson Treadwell said. "Last year we were afraid to make the tackles."
"We are just getting after it and playing together as one," Jerrin Thompson said.
It is not just the players who see the difference. Head Coach Todd Quick has taken notice.
"It is a totally different team then they were last year," Quick said. "It is a totally different thinking at what they are doing. They are a lot more relaxed."
Through the first eight games in 2016, Lufkin gave up 309 points. Through that same time span this season, they have only surrendered 166 points. In the last two weeks, the team has surrendered 14 points. Seven of those were to West Brook who was averaging 44 points per game. They have forced over 10 turnovers in that time period. Six of those were forced on Oak Ridge who only had six all year heading into the game with Lufkin.
"We made sure the effort was high," Treadwell said. "That is the main thing."
"We practice a lot of turnover drills and tackles and it translates to the game," Thompson said.
Not to be outdone. The Panthers offense is spreading it out and racking up the points. The defense said they appreciate the effort on every part of the game and know that it keeps morale up.
"When both side of the ball are working, I feel like we can't be beat," Thompson said. "The offense got us and we got them," Treadwell said. "Seeing them do good makes us want to do even better."
With a home playoff game in their sights, the Pack is just looking to finish strong.
"It is a virus," Quick said. "The guys see what is going on and they want to be apart of it. They want their picture up on the wall in the field house. They want to see their name on the stat sheet. It is catching. it is one of those good viruses you want."
Lufkin will play in Conroe on Friday night before hosting Montgomery to end the season.