LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Another season of Panther football is over, but it's still the talk of the town.
"Right now everybody's depressed, but we'll get over it," said Leonard Hewitt, Former #11 Panther Defensive Back, 2006.
Hewitt sums it up to a tee. No one wants a one and done play-off season, but Panther pride is strong.
"That's one thing I've learned and I haven't played in four years. Lufkin is always going to be Lufkin and they're going to be behind you at all time," said Hewitt.
They will commiserate about the loss for a while. No one knows that better than the 'Voice of the Panthers', Gary Ivins.
He got 41 calls in two hours during his show Monday.
"It ranged from we need new coaches, we need new game plans. I like to call it over reaction Monday," said Ivins.
Former player Fred Jones says it isn't the coaches or the players, but maybe faltering fan support.
"When you're playing and losing and you hear nothing from the stands that disappoints you as a player. You don't play as hard as you used to," said Fred Jones, Former Lufkin Panther football player, 2001.
Even with another heart-breaking season-ender the message coming from those who back The Pack is positive. They say the Panthers should be proud of the effort they displayed all season.
Ivins says the team should even be proud of their performance on Saturday.
"Everybody gets mad when you lose, but it wasn't a bad thing. They battled hard. They just ran out of time," said Ivins.
There's not much down time for the Lufkin Panthers, between ending the 2010 season and gearing up for the next. Fans aren't short on advice for next season's players.
"Get in the gym and work hard regardless of each season," said Hewitt.
"Just take it one step at a time. Don't look forward to playing someone else or this team is that. Just take it one day, one game, one practice at a time," said Jones.
As for the fans who are feeling down on the season now, Ivins says they'll be back.
"Everybody's mad right now, but when it rolls around next year and we start selling season tickets, we sold 52,000 this year, and I'm pretty sure we'll sell 52,000 next year," said Ivins.
Because those who back the Pack... stay with the Pack year after year... win or lose.