Panther pride having positive impact on local economy

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Panther pride is alive and well in the City of Lufkin, at last week's home opener a sea of purple filled the stands.  A longtime tradition that many say has a positive impact on the local economy.

"If you're in the city, in the school, you'll see purple and gold everywhere, everyone's got their Lufkin shirts on," said Shelly Slaton, Assistant Principal of Curriculum

Head Coach Todd Quick says when a town only has one high school the entire community comes together on game day.

And those Friday night fans are pouring into the economy.

Coaches say about 10,000 to 12,000 fans fill the stands at each home game."

"We get a pretty big pop before games and typically after the game whether it's the cheerleaders, some of the players or the families that are going out of town," said Britany Vinson, GM Cheddars.

"It brings people into our town, that may not have been here for another reason and so they are eating in our restaurants going to our gas stations," said Slaton.

Last season the pack had six home games, this year they only have four.

Quick says the difference in games is a part of the UIL realignment.

"This kind of goes with who you're playing there's not a lot of people lined up that's calling and saying 'hey do you want to play?' which is kind of a compliment to your program," said Quick.

Cheddars General Manager Britney Vinson says football makes a huge difference in how many people come in on Friday nights.

"In the summers our Fridays and Saturdays typically go down a little bit and during football season they come up because everyone is out before and after the game," said Vinson.

But quick says the two game difference shouldn't hit local businesses too hard.

"Last year we had an extra game it all balances out, you still have 10 games throughout the two years," said Quick.

And even with only three home games left loyal fans have enough purple running through their veins to last all season.

Coaches say they won't know until February how they will be aligned for next year's football season

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