National Championship Game Will Feature Several Lufkin Graduates
Monday night, the Georgia Bulldogs and TCU Horned Frogs will battle for college football's national championship. Many in East Texas will be hoping that TCU can pull off a major upset, not just because the school is from the Lone Star State, but also because there will be several folks on the field at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California that graduated from Lufkin High School.
Just a couple of seasons ago, Self was anchoring the offensive live for the Lufkin Panthers. Now, he is a 6' 4", 295-pound redshirt freshman for TCU.
A class of 2009 graduate from Lufkin High School, McFarland served three seasons on the coaching staff at Stephen F. Austin State University. He was assistant head coach and defensive line coach in 2021. In that role, McFarland helped lead the Lumberjacks to an 8-4 record, national ranking and FCS playoff berth.
According to the TCU write-up on McFarland, SFA's defense led the WAC in scoring defense, total defense, takeaways, sacks and opponent third down conversion percentage while also placing among the national leaders in each category. The 2020 season saw SFA top the Southland Conference in pass defense efficiency, interceptions and takeaways while ranking second in scoring defense and total defense.
This is McFarland's first year on the TCU coaching staff. He serves as their defensive line coach.
The TCU Junior is living out her dream of being a member of the school's Showgirls dance team.
At Lufkin High School, Davis was a member of the Panther Pride Drill Team. She especially cherished her time serving as Captain during her senior year, leading the Panther Pride's first-ever 50-member team. JV Drill coach Debbie Hemphill and Panther Pride coach Johnna Walker helped mold her into the dancer that she is today.
Her love of dance started at Academy of Gymnastics and Dance, under the guidance of Darlene Atkinson. Davis started competitively dancing for Academy’s travel team in sixth grade and stayed a member until her senior year of high school.
Upon reaching college, Davis quickly realized that high school dance styles weren’t necessarily comparable to the style of college teams. She trained for two years under former Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Jennifer Amburn, being enrolled in her ProFocus while taking additional weekly classes. This prepared her for her first step into the professional world of dance as an Allen American Ice Angel.
Under the guidance of Stephanie DiBiase, the Ice Angels showed Davis the dedication it took to commit to a full hockey season, while balancing the responsibilities as a student.
"Even though I loved my time on the ice with girls filled with the same passion as me to pursue dance, I knew I needed to keep the promise I made to that little girl who looked up to The Showgirls and take my chance for an incredible junior year."
Being a TCU Showgirl requires complete dedication. According to Davis, you live, breathe, eat and sleep it, but she loves every second of it! Lindsay Westbrook is the coach for the Showgirls.
The TCU Showgirls can be found at every TCU Football, Basketball, and Baseball game, performing routines year-round. Obviously, this year has been extremely special for Davis given the outstanding success of the football team. That success has allowed the Showgirls to dance at the stadium homes of the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, and Los Angeles Rams.
Riley is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for TCU. Although he did not play at Lufkin, he does have ties to Deep East Texas.
In 2010, Riley played quarterback for the SFA Lumberjacks, helping to lead them to a 9-3 record and a Southland Conference Championship.
The National Championship Game is set to kick off Monday, January 9 at 6:30 pm. If you watch the game, see if you can catch some of these Lufkin alums on the screen.
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