LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The rivalry between Lufkin and Longview has always had a strong following and through the years it has developed into one of the biggest in the state.
The Pack will play the Longview Lobos for the 81st time in the overall series this coming Saturday. Of all those meetings, this will be the 10th time they play in the playoffs. Longview is up 5-4 in the playoffs.
The two's first playoff battle against each other was in 1936 with the Pack walking away with a 12-0 victory. Lufkin would not win another playoff game over the Lobos until 1942. Only three of the battles have been decided by 19 or more points.
"We have played each other a ton of times," Longview head coach John King said. "Each time we play in non-district we shake hands and say hope to see you in the fourth round."
This game has a similar feel as their regional semi-final game did in 2004, when they met up at SFA. The two will also meet at SFA this coming Saturday. the 2004 playoff game drew over 27,000 fans. This week's game is expected to clear 20,000.
"It was unbelievable," King said. "There was just excitement when we pulled up on those buses with the crowd."
Lufkin Head Coach Todd Quick remembers being an assistant coach under John Outlaw when the Panthers made a 2nd half comeback in the game to win 31-21.
"When they out there there will be 10,000 people already in the stands so there are things we cannot do in our walk through. We will need to make sure we have enough gas to make it to the fourth."
The crowd is not alarming the players.
"I am going to go out and do my thing and just play," safety Bug Thompson said.
"It is a big game but we are going to take it as just another game," wide receiver Malik Jackson said. "We are going to go out and show what we can do."
Quick believes the teams will put on a show for the fans.
"These are two high profiled teams," Quick said. "It is an East Texas thing. It is a pride thing."
The players are taking the week in stride and just looking forward to playing a Lobos team they have played since middle school.
"We are going to come hard and they are going to come hard," Safety Jeremiah Davis said. "It will be a nice physical game."
"The game last week had a big crowd so we are used to it," punter Max Quick said. "This will just be a little bigger but we will still play on the same 100 yard field."
The Lobo players also know the game at SFA will be the next big chapter in the rivalry.
"It is going to be exciting and an electrifying moment," fullback Paul Hutchins said. "Big plays are going to be made. We have two East Texas teams going head-to-head and we wouldn't have it better because that is love and that is football."
Way back at week one, the two met up in Lobo Stadium with Longview winning 35-16. The season was young and both teams have made changes and transformed into sleepers in the playoff hunt. If one thing is certain in the long history of the two teams it is that anything can happen at any moment.
"We will watch the film on the game but you cannot put any stock in that game or the one before that or the year before that," King said. "
Quick shares his opinion.
"You have to play the game," Quick said. "You can look on a piece of paper and try to figure out who will win but until you go out there and play nobody knows."