When In Texas: Week 6 / by Guillermo Hernandez Martinez

Week 6 took me to the easternmost point of my When In Texas journey: the Deep East Texas town of Lufkin and its Lufkin High School Panthers.

Often cited as one of the best high school football atmospheres in the state, Lufkin gathers over ten thousand fans in Abe Martin Stadium during Panthers' games, including this Friday's homecoming contest against Whitehouse, in which Lufkin survived a furious late rally by the Wildcats and held on by a score of 52-48.

Abe Martin Stadium is named after the head coach who guided Lufkin to four district championships and almost a decade of dominance over East Texas football during the 1930s and '40s, kickstarting Lufkin's continued passion over its football teams. The town produced its first state championship team in 1964, out of the segregated African-American school Dunbar High School, which would go on to win two more state titles before integration finally came to Lufkin High School in 1970. Since then, the Pack's most successful period came under the guidance of head coach John Outlaw, who compiled over 160 wins in 17 years, as well as three state semifinal appearances and a state championship victory in 2001 before untimely passing away due to a heart attack in 2011. The Panthers have been playing their home games in John Outlaw Memorial Field at Abe Martin Stadium since then.

Lufkin has produced several National Football League players, including current Dallas Cowboys star wide-receiver Dez Bryant, but none has been as successful as Dunbar alumnus Ken Houston, who was inducted to the NFL's Hall of Fame in 1986 after a 13 year career with the Houston Oilers and Washington.

Catch up with the previous 5 weeks of When In Texas by visiting the blog entries linked below or by visiting the project's dedicated page: When In Texas.

Week 1: Woodlands College Park vs Pearland
Week 2: Mason vs De Leon
Week 3: West Rusk vs Sabine
Week 4: El Paso vs Jefferson Silva
Week 5: Katy vs Katy Taylor
Week 5: St. Anthony vs St. Stephen's

Fans arrive at Abe Martin Stadium, home of the Lufkin High School Panthers, before the Pack's homecoming game against Whitehouse on Oct. 3, 2014 in Lufkin, Texas.
Renowned state-wide for its fans and atmosphere as much as for its football team, 41-year-old Abe Martin typically houses over ten thousand football fans during the Panthers' home games.

Panther cheerleaders walk through a tunnel in Abe Martin Stadium prior to Lufkin High School's homecoming game against Whitehouse on Oct. 3, 2014 in Lufkin, Texas.
Established in 1905, Lufkin High has a proud football tradition dating back to the 1930s and '40s, when head coach Abe Martin led the Panthers to four district championships and only ten losses in seven years. The town's football success was continued by Dunbar High School, the segregated African-American high school in Lufkin, and its conquest of three state championship titles in the 1960's. After Lufkin High's integration in 1970, the Panthers have continuously produced eventual NFL players, including current Dallas Cowboys star Dez Bryant, and were crowned state champions in 2001.

The Whitehouse High School drumline plays for excited fans and cheerleaders following halftime of the Wildcats' week 6 high school football game against Lufkin High School played on Oct. 3, 2014 at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin, Texas.
Down by 28 points in the fourth quarter, the Wildcats mounted a frenetic rally but were eventually eight points away from spoiling the Panthers' homecoming game and lost by a score of 48-52.

Whitehouse High School junior Cade Parrish (29) warms up prior to the Wildcats' week 6 high school football game against Lufkin High School played on Oct. 3, 2014 at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin, Texas.
While Dez Bryant is the school's highest profile graduate, Lufkin's most successful football player is Dunbar alumnus Ken Houston, who was inducted to the National Football League's Hall of Fame in 1986 after a career playing for Washington and the Houston Oilers.

A member of Lufkin High School's "Panther Pride" drill team sits in the empty stands prior to the Panther's homecoming football game against Whitehouse played on Oct. 3, 2014 at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin, Texas.
Classified as a 5A school by the UIL, Lufkin High serves the vast majority of the town's roughly thirty-five thousand inhabitants.

Lufkin High School kicker Javier Montes (14) converts a point-after-touchdown during first quarter action of the Pack's homecoming football game against Whitehouse played on Oct. 3, 2014 at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin, Texas.
Lufkin was rocked in late 2011 when it received the news that John Outlaw, its head coach for 17 years, passed away after a heart attack. Soon after, the Panther community dedicated its playing field to head coach John Outlaw, and since 2012 the Pack has played its games at John Outlaw Memorial Field at Abe Martin Stadium. Outlaw's legacy at Lufkin includes over 160 games won, three trips to the state semi-finals and a state championship victory in 2001.

Lufkin High School players huddle before the second half of their homecoming game against Whitehouse played on Oct. 3, 2014 at Abe Martin Stadium in Lufkin, Texas.