BY KEITH KANE
LUFKIN—The Bryan Vikings had missed opportunities early and were unable to slow down the Lufkin Panthers’ offense until late in the game on the way to a 31 to 19 District 14-5A loss at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin Friday night.
The Vikings took the opening kick-off and marched 61 yards to the Lufkin 10 yard line. But, a holding penalty, a false start, and the first of six sacks of Bryan quarterback B-J Ross took the Vikings out of field goal range with a scoring opportunity squandered.
Lufkin would score on their first five offensive possessions of the game. The Panthers would score first with 5:40 left in the first quarter on a 60-yard pass from quarterback Trey Cumbie to wide-out KeKe Coutee. The Panthers would make it 14 to nothing with an eight yard pass from Cumbie to Demarrea Houston with 10:46 left in the first half.
The Bryan Vikings would cut into the lead with 8:57 left in the half completing a 75 yard drive with a one yard KeeKee Johnson run. But, the extra point snap was bobbled, the kick sailed wide, and the score at that time was 14 to 6 with Lufkin on top.
The Panthers would stretch their lead with a 33 yard Timmy Martinez field goal with 5:38 left in the first half. Lufkin would add one more score with :50 left in the half on a 7-yard run by Steven Sowell to make it 24 to 6 with Lufkin leading at halftime.
The second half began much as the first half ended, with Lufkin putting together a 70 yard scoring drive to pull ahead 31 to 6 on a 10 yard pass from Trey Cumbie to Demarrea Houston.
The Vikings defense would finally rise to the occasion midway through the third quarter and force the Panthers to punt for the first time in the game. Bryan would then put together a 72 yard drive to score on a one yard Bobby Johnson touchdown run with 6:25 left in the game. The extra point try was blocked to make in Lufkin 31, Bryan 12.
The Vikings’ defense would get another stop and give the offense a chance late in the game. Bryan would score with :43 second left on a 7 yard run by KeeKee Johnson. Corey Johnson’s extra point was good and it was a two possession game with Lufkin leading 31 to 19. But, a short pooch kick by the Vikings was controlled by Lufkin who then ran out the clock to preserve the homecoming win.
Bryan’s B-J Ross had another good game completing 15 passes for 216 yards. But, he was sacked six times as the much bigger Lufkin defensive line consistently got into the Bryan backfield. Brothers Bobby and KeeKee Johnson combined for 139 yard of rushing and all three scores.
The Vikings next game will be back in the friendly confines of Merrell Green Stadium when they host The Woodlands Highlanders for a 7:30 pm kick-off Friday night. The game will be broadcast on 1150 The Zone beginning at 7 pm Friday with Keith Kane and Zach Taylor.