Robert E. Lee and Lufkin are considered rivals, but in order for a rivalry to exist there needs to be a two-way street in score lines. Lufkin has made it decisively one-way, winning every meeting against the Red Raiders since 2003.
Lee sophomore quarterback Zach Hall and the Red Raiders proved they're not one-week wonders, defeating Lufkin 42-30 Friday in the second game of the Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic.
A week ago, Hall accounted for six touchdowns in a season-opening win over Sulphur Springs.
Friday against Lufkin, Hall rushed for 174 yards and a touchdown and passed for 160 and a score while fellow sophomore tailback Tavon Wesley carried 15 times for 122 yards and three TDs (25, 63, 11) as the two teams battled on Earl Campbell Field at TMF Rose Stadium.
"This was a big win," said Hall afterward while holding a gold ball signifying the winner of the TMF Classic game. "Everybody doubted us, but now we sent a statement to every team we play. We are not going to fold. We strive through adversity; we play hard. We didn't work hard in the offseason for no reason."
Lee (2-0) jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the Panthers (1-1), which was looking to make it 2 for 2 against Tyler teams after defeating John Tyler last Friday, 52-28.
The Panthers used second-half dominance to win that game, rallying back from a 21-7 deficit.
On Friday against the Red Raiders, Lufkin clawed its way in front in the early minutes of the third quarter thanks to a 35-yard touchdown pass from Trey Cumbie to Terry Mark.
It was the first time Lee had trailed all season.
Lufkin halted REL's next drive, thanks to a bad snap over Hall's head.
But four plays later it was Lufkin's miscue that turned the game back for good in REL's favor. A screen pass was fumbled with REL's Amier Wilson pouncing on it to give the Red Raiders a first down at Lufkin's 26.
Lee overcame penalties to eventually force its way into the end zone on a 3-yard blast up the middle from Marquian Jones.
Now back in front, Lee never looked back.
With REL's defense stopping Lufkin on its next drive, the Red Raiders used an 11-play, 82-yard drive that culminated in Wesley scoring his third TD to make it 35-23 Lee with 9:17 remaining.
Lufkin cut its deficit to 35-30 with 5:11 left on a 42-yard TD pass from Cumbie to Jamal Jeffery, but Hall then powered REL for another long drive, this one covering 71 yards in 10 plays. He sealed it with a 14-yard TD run with 48 seconds left.
"This group is doing good, but we still have to keep working hard," said Lee coach Darrell Piske. "We're going to enjoy this for about four minutes and then we'll move on to John Tyler."
The Red Raiders will face JT in the annual Rose City Rivalry at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Red Raiders jumped out to a two-touchdown advantage on a 25-yard scoring run by Wesley. Lee then doubled it on a 79-yard TD pass from Hall to Diondre Allen.
Lee was driving again, but an interception halted the Red Raiders momentum and Lufkin took advantage. After a 10-play drive, Panthers tailback Steven Sowell took a screen pass 32 yards for a touchdown.
Things went from bad to worse for Lee. An illegal block negated a long kickoff return. On first down a false start penalty pushed REL back to its own 4. Trying to run a jet sweep led to a fumble in the end zone with Bryce Wilkerson recovering to prevent a Lufkin TD, but the Panthers had the safety.
Lufkin looked about to take the lead after the free kick, driving down Lee's 36. An incompletion on third down prompted Lufkin to go for it. The Panthers tried to get Sowell outside on a speed option, but Lee senior linebacker Desmond Dunn raced in and dropped him for a loss and turnover on downs.
On the first play of the second quarter, Wesley went up the middle for his second TD run of the half, this one covering 63 yards. Chris Blas'PAT made it 21-9 with 11:49 remaining in the half.
Lufkin receiver KeKe Coutee put Lufkin within five points, 21-16, out leaping two REL defenders in the end zone to bring down a 25-yard TD pass.
The Panthers thought they had the lead minutes later after Coutee went 80 yards for a punt return TD, but Lufkin had lined up offsides before the punt, causing it to be brought back as the half ended with Lee still leading 21-16.
Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic
At TMF Rose Stadium (Earl Campbell Field)
Robert E. Lee 42, Lufkin 30
Lufkin 9 7 7 7 — 30
Robert E. Lee 14 7 7 14 — 42
REL—Tavon Wesley 25 run (Chris Blas kick), 8:42
REL—Diondre Allen 79 pass from Zach Hall (Blas kick), 6:15
LUF—Steven Sowell 32 pass from Trey Cumbie (Timmy Martinez kick), 2:52
LUF—Safety, Lee recovers own fumble in end zone, 2:26.
REL—Wesley 63 run (Blas kick), 9:15.
LUF—KeKe Coutee 25 pass from Cumbie (Martinez kick), 10:28
LUF—Terry Mark 35 pass from Trey Cumbie (Martinez kick), 10:30.
REL—Marquian Jones 3 run (Blas kick), 3:48.
REL—Wesley 9 run (Blas kick), 9:17.
LUF—Jamal Jeffery 42 pass from Cumbie (Martinez kick), 5:11.
REL—Hall 14 run (Blas kick), (:48).
EST. ATT. —6,000.
First Downs 16 23
Rushes-Yards 23-59 50-324
Passing Yards 315 160
Comp.-Att.-Int. 23-41-0 9-15-1
Punts-Avg. 4-39.2 5-32.8
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 5-0
Penalties-Yards 4-20 7-40
RUSHING—Lufkin, Steven Sowell 15-46, Trey Cumbie 3-7, KeKe Coutee 1-11, Josh Tolbert 1-6, Jamal Jeffery 1-1, Team 2-(minus 12). Robert E. Lee, Zach Hall 23-174, Tavon Wesley 15-122, Marquian Jones 7-52, Marquiston Williams 2-7.
PASSING—Robert E. Lee, Zach Hall 9-15-1. Lufkin, Trey Cumbie 23-41-0.
RECEIVING—Lufkin, KeKe Coutee 8-87, Jamal Jeffery 6-121, Terry Mark 5-62, Steven Sowell 3-40, Jadarius Carroll 1-4. Robert E. Lee, Marquiston Williams 3-32, Bryce Wilkerson 3-31, Diondre Allen 1-79, Paxton Potter 1-17, Marquian Jones 1-1.