Robert E. Lee dropped its season opener last week to Euless Trinity despite a strong start.
On Friday against Lufkin, it was the start that hurt the Red Raiders.
Lee gave up a 65-yard touchdown run to Jamarcus Walker on the second play from scrimmage as Walker finished with 128 yards and four scores in a 38-20 win for Lufkin (2-0) Friday in Game 2 of the Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic at TMF Rose Stadium.
The Red Raiders trailed 31-7 at halftime. Lee scored twice in the second half, but the damage had been done as Lee begins its season 0-2 and has now lost five straight in its annual TMF Football Classic.
“There are going to be good things and bad things and we have to eliminate the bad and build on the good,” said Lee head coach Randy Huffstickler. “We cannot play the first half like we played tonight against a good football team. We have to play cleaner and we understand that.”
The Red Raiders were limited to 33 yards rushing and 97 yards of offense in the first half but finished with 282, thanks to Lee backs Dalaven Baker (8-55, TD), LaQuintas Wallace (14-54), Marcus White (7-49) and Aneas Sutton (8-45) churning up yardage on scoring drives.
Lee senior quarterback Joseph Seeber was an efficient 7 of 12 for 93 yards, highlighted by a 34-yard scoring strike to Dreak Scott.
“Huff’s got a good team and he’s a good guy and his kids did not quit on him,” said Lufkin coach John Outlaw. “They ran the ball against Euless Trinity and they ran the ball against us. When they get to where they can throw the ball on a consistent basis, they will be a whole lot better.”
Following Walker’s touchdown run, Lee’s offense went three and out. Despite a 43-yard punt from Austin Martel, Lufkin’s Jabryce Taylor found a seam and returned it 44 yards to the Lee 10.
The defense held with Luis Garcia giving Lufkin a 10-0 lead with a 34-yard field goal. Garcia also converted 5 PATs, but missed two other field-goal tries.
Needing a response, things went from bad to worse for Lee on its ensuing drive. On third-and-13, Seeber lost the hold on a shotgun snap with Lufkin’s Demontrai Lewis swooping in to recover for the Panthers at Lee’s 17. Two plays later, Walker was in the end zone on a 3-yard scoring run and 17-0 lead with 6:14 still to play in the first quarter.
The Red Raiders got on the board late in the final seconds of the quarter. On second-and-4 at Lufkin’s 34, Seeber’s snap count drew Lufkin offsides. Seeber knew he had a free play and lofted a perfect strike to Scott. Kaba’s PAT cut the deficit to 17-7.
Lee’s defense began to stymie Lufkin, but it was an unfortunate bounce that enabled the Panthers to increase their lead. Lee forced a punt, but the rugby-style kick hit the back of a Red Raider player who was blocking. Lufkin recovered at the Lee 6. One play later and Walker was back in the end zone to give the Panthers a 24-7 lead with 5:50 remaining in the half.
“Those kinds of things keep going against us,” Huffstickler said of the turnover. “The ball hits the punt cover guy in the back. We are not quite where we need to be to overcome those things, but we are going to get there.”
Lufkin tacked on another touchdown just before halftime following another long punt return from Taylor. Gunnar Quick ran for 21 yards on one keeper and 20 on another before Voshon Richardson capped the drive on a 2-yard blast.
The Red Raiders got its offense going more in the second half, driving 80 yards in nine plays, capped by Baker’s 4-yard scoring run.
Lufkin answered in kind, driving 83 yards in 13 plays with Walker crashing into the end zone on fourth-and-goal to make it 38-13 entering the fourth.
The Red Raiders turned a turnover into another scoring drive to give REL a little momentum, despite the final score, heading into next week’s annual Rose City Rivalry against John Tyler.
“One thing that we take is the intensity and high level that we have to play week to week,” Huffstickler said. “We don’t have a down week (with this schedule). It will be easy for our guys to get up for this week.”
Lufkin 38, Robert E. Lee 20
At Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium
Lufkin 17 14 7 0 — 38
Robert E. Lee 7 0 6 7 — 20
LUF—Jamarcus Walker 65 run (Luis Garcia kick), 11:32
LUF—FG Garcia 34 (8:22)
LUF—Walker 3 run (Garcia kick), 6:14
REL—Dreak Scott 34 pass from Joseph Seeber (Lumi Kaba kick), :01
LUF—Walker 6 run (Garcia kick), 5:50
LUF—Voshon Richardson (Garcia kick), 1:45
REL—Dalaven Baker 4 run (kick blocked), 4:40
LUF—Walker 1 run (Garcia kick), :20
REL—Wallace 5 run (Kaba kick), 9:25
First Downs 18 18
Rushes-Yards 37-297 40-189
Passing Yards 123 93
Comp-Att-Int 12-22-0 7-12-0
Punts-Average 2-37 5-40.4
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-1
Penalties 5-38 4-35
RUSHING—Robert E. Lee, Dalaven Baker 8-55, LaQuintas Wallace 14-54, Marcus White 7-49, Aneas Sutton 8-45, Joseph Seeber 3-(minus 14). Lufkin, Jamarcus Walker 16-128, Voshon Richardson 9-68, Gunnar Quick 5-27, Nick Cox 5-14.
PASSING—Robert E. Lee, Seeber 7-12-0 93. Lufkin, Cox 10-19-0 106, Quick 2-3-0 17.
RECEIVING—Robert E. Lee, White 4-33, Dreak Scott 2-40, Sutton 1-6. Lufkin, Jabryce Taylor 3-28, Xavier Walker 2-29, Jeremiah Jeffery 2-21, Darrian Shepherd 2-9, Walker, 1-23, Richardson 2-11.