For the last 2 seasons the Lufkin Panthers had a bullseye on their back. The Pack was picked number one in the state by Texas Football Magazine for 2001. That didn't seem to bother them as they captured the Class 5A, Division II State Championship for the first time in Lufkin's history.
What a difference a year can make. G one from the Panthers State Championship team were 41 lettermen including 16 starters. The biggest hole to fill came at Quarterback where senior Terrance Parks steped in for Reggie McNeal. Parks was an all-district selection at receiver last season. McNeal was one of the top signal callers in the nation. While occasionally stepping in for Texas A&M Aggies last fall, McNeal continued to show his brilliance at a colleagiac level, forcing Parks to come up with some fireworks of his own. According to Outlaw, Parks and his offense had a pre-season. Joining Parks on offense were leading receivers Quinton Holman and Terrance Mott. The top returning receivers combined to haul in 15 touchdown passes in 2001.
The Panthers will once again relied on a stingy defense led by defensive coordinator Todd Quick. In 2001 the Panthers gave up just 26 points in 5 district ballgames. Marshall had the biggest offensive output in district play with 9 points against the Lufkin defense. Linebacker Ataymain Skinner has shown he can deliver the big hit. Skinner has racked up over 90 tackles per season the past two years.
With the new District 11-5A, Lufkin had to drop one of their pre-district ballgames. The Panthers non-district games are still pretty rough. The Pack opened against perennial power Katy in the "Zero Week", and dominated. Lufkin will then faced rival Nacogdoches in week one and destroyed them. In fact Lufkin only racked up two losses in 2002, both to rivals John Tyler.
Even without all the preseason accolades, Head Coach John Outlaw is confident his team will be ready to go once that season opener rolls around. "Certainly everybody in Lufkin is proud of our accomplishments from a year ago. That's history. It's time for these guys to try and make history and it's my responsibility to try and help give this team a chance to win a 2nd Championship."