LUFKIN - In a game that featured 19 touchdowns, it all came down to one final play for the Lufkin Panthers.
With 0.2 seconds on the clock, Kordell Rodgers heaved the ball to the end zone, and it appeared it was going to be caught by Dhailon Phillips to give the Panthers a chance to tie the score. However, the ball came free and hit the ground as Beaumont West Brook took a 70-63 decision Friday night at Abe Martin Stadium.
“The effort was good, but we have to make plays,” Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said. “We’re not making plays when we need to.”
After Tre’ Grant gave Lufkin a 63-62 lead with 2:25 left, West Brook took the ball and regained the lead with 29 seconds left on a 35-yard run by L’Ravien Elia.
The Panthers took the ball at their own 34 after the kickoff. Completions to Jamel Richemond and Phillips, and an 8-yard run by Rodgers put Lufkin at the West Brook 43 with 7.4 seconds left. Rodgers’ first attempt at a Hail Mary was incomplete a few yards in front of the end zone with 0.2 seconds on the clock to set up one final play.
Rodgers finished 24 of 42 for 383 yards with three touchdowns. He also rushed for 130 yards and two scores on 13 carries.
The game was back-and-forth all night. In the first two minutes of the game, West Brook scored on a 60-yard pass from wide receiver Damon Ward to Kandin Robertson, and Lufkin scored on a 49-yard strike from Rodgers to Malik Jackson.
The score was 14-14 heading into the second quarter until West Brook went ahead with a 3-yard run by James Jones. The Panthers responded 35 seconds later with a 64-yard touchdown pass to Phillips.
After a 26-yard touchdown pass from Elia to Bralin Simon that gave West Brook a 28-21 lead, Lufkin used a 50-yard pass from Rodgers to Jackson to set up a 1-yard scoring run by Kahlil Brown, who left the game early with an injury and finished with 65 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.
The Panthers took a 35-28 halftime lead thanks to a 4-yard touchdown run by Rodgers with 1:01 remaining in the second quarter.
There wasn’t any scoring in the first five minutes of the third quarter until Elia’s 19-yard pass to Joel Denley tied the score at 35. Lufkin came back quickly as Rodgers connected for a 23-yard touchdown pass to Richemond, who made a highlight-reel catch in the end zone. West Brook’s Robertson answered with his own highlight-worthy catch - a 17-yarder from Elia - to tie the score at 42.
Early in the fourth quarter, Grant gave the Panthers a 49-42 edge with a 2-yard run. Less than a minute later, Elia threw a short pass to Denby, who made a spin move and broke a tackle on the way to an 80-yard touchdown.
After a Lufkin punt, Elia scored on a 56-yard run to put the Bruins ahead 56-49. The Panthers then tied things up with a 5-yard touchdown run by Rodgers.
With 3:32 left, West Brook captured the lead once again on a 22-yard pass from Elia to Robertson, but the extra point went wide left to make the score 62-56. Grant’s 39-yard touchdown run and Rodrigo Molina’s extra point helped the Panthers grab a 63-62 advantage with 2:25 on the clock.
Elia, who normally splits quarterback duties with Marcus Johnson and had only attempted 26 passes this season, finished 16 of 23 through the air for 308 yards and four touchdowns - all in the second half. He also carried the ball 27 times for 256 yards and two scores. Denley had 19 carries for 178 yards, and he caught seven passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Robertson had seven catches for 152 yards and two scores.
The Panthers (4-3, 1-2) have allowed 133 points in their last two games. They dropped a 63-42 contest to The Woodlands on Sept. 30. West Brook (7-1, 3-1) was coming off a 72-7 setback to The Woodlands.
Lufkin sophomore receiver Breylon Garcia left the game in the second half with an injury and was carted out of the stadium on a stretcher.
Jackson made four catches for 125 yards and a touchdown, and Phillips had 11 grabs for 149 yards and a touchdown.
Lufkin will travel to Conroe next Friday to take on Oak Ridge.