If the Lufkin Panthers squinted last Friday night, they could have convinced themselves they bested The Woodlands, rolling to a 58-17 victory over their hapless opponent behind quarterback Kordell Rodgers’ 418 passing yards and six touchdowns.
Unfortunately, that was The Woodlands College Park, not The Woodlands Highlanders.
The latter is 4-0 for the first time since 2011, and absolutely steamrolling their opposition — outscoring the competition by a combined 80 point deficit. The Highlanders look to continue their winning streak in their district opener, against a Lufkin opponent that will have major district title implications.
The restrictive Woodlands defense has been stifling opponents, allowing only 44 points in four contests. The highlights of their resume include beating Spring Westfield, and in Week Three, hosting 2015 6A Division II state champions Katy and limiting the Tigers to a meager field goal score in garbage time. Week Four saw a dismantling of the 2015 5A Division I title winners George Ranch Longhorns, whose only other loss is to a ranked Dickinson team.
The Highlanders’ defense will have their hands full against Lufkin’s uptempo, hurry-up offense. Lufkin quarterback Rodgers has plenty of targets to consider and efficiently spreads the ball around the field. Last season, Rodgers threw for 2,000 yards and rushed for an additional 600. He’s on track to besting those numbers, airing out nearly 1,000 yards passing in his last two game. The Panthers have totaled 224 points this season, significantly more than the 127 points for Woodlands. They haven’t had an easy route either; Lufkin’s beaten two very good opponents in Nacogdoches and Longview. Their only loss comes from an out of state opponent: Parkway from Louisiana.
The Woodlands are currently ranked no. 10 on TexasHSFootball 6A Power Rankings; Lufkin is no. 21. This matchup doesn’t just have district implications, this is a playoff matchup in the middle of the season.