Almost: Lufkin rallies, then falls short against Plano West


WACO — After trailing by 24 points in the third quarter, the Lufkin Panthers put together a storybook comeback, taking a lead with 3:28 remaining when Kendrick Mapp scored from four yards out with 3:28 remaining in the game.

Instead, Plano West rewrote the ending. Sotonye Jamabo ran for 164 yards and three touchdowns, including a 2-yard run with 1:12 remaining and the Wolves held off a final Lufkin charge to capture a 55-52 thriller over Lufkin in a Class 5A regional semifinal at Waco ISD Stadium Saturday afternoon.

“I couldn’t be more proud of every kid out here,” Lufkin head coach Todd Quick said. “You can’t ask them to do anymore than they did.”

After scoring 28 unanswered points, Lufkin appeared to be on the verge of pulling off an unlikely comeback. But Plano West, whose offense was unstoppable in the first half, put together an eight-play, 75-yard drive to go up by three points with 1:12 left in the game.

The game was an offensive explosion on both sides of the ball as the teams combined for 1,201 yards.

Lufkin’s Tyler Stubblefield threw for 477 yards and four touchdowns and also ran for another score. JaBryce Taylor had a big game with nine receptions for 237 yards and three touchdowns.

Plano West had plenty of fireworks of its own as Travis Korry threw for 254 yards on 16-of-25 passing. Korry scored on a 2-yard run to bring the Plano West lead to 48-24 before Lufkin started to chip away.

After allowing 466 yards in the first half, Lufkin gave up a total of 122 yards after the break, with 75 of those coming on the last drive.

“The defense made some adjustments and gave us a chance to win,” Quick said. “There were just a few plays at the end that went their way.”

Lufkin finishes the season with a 9-4 record while Plano West moves to 9-4 and on into the state quarterfinals where it will take on Austin Westlake.