Starting next week, it is officially football time in Lufkin.

With the season opener days away, Panther fans recently turned out in droves to either renew or get new season tickets.

The popularity of Lufkin football is so high we actually have a swap day in order for season ticket holders to improve their seating options according to their needs.

Unfortunately, by the time all those seating options were done, some of the new season ticket holders were left with seats on the other side of the stadium, a situation some see as less than ideal.

While we understand those frustrations, the current options don’t leave any season tickets available on the home side of the field.

On a positive note, even on the visitors’ side, those season ticket holders will still be surrounded by other Lufkin season ticket holders.

While it may be a problem for some, it’s a problem other schools across the state only wish they had.

We’re lucky enough to have a team and a tradition that is, simply put, worth watching. None of the current players on the Lufkin roster were alive the last time a Panthers’ team missed the playoffs in 1997.

With success comes demand on season tickets. And Lufkin certainly has a high demand.

We’ve heard stories of Lufkin season tickets being passed along from generation to generation. Even some that aren’t frequently used are kept in order to have the option of watching the Panthers for years to come.

It’s almost a Green Bay Packers-type of situation but at a high school facility.

That leaves the best option as getting season tickets while they’re still available and gradually improving your spot on a year-by-year basis.

For those who still have gripes, hop in the car and go to a Lufkin road game on any given Friday night. Outside of trips to some of the old East Texas rivals like Longview, where the atmosphere is electric, the Panthers are often playing in stadiums where the home side is half empty, and even that is being generous.

While playing in Houston-area districts for most of the past 15 years, the atmosphere on Friday nights simply doesn’t match up to what we see across East Texas. At those schools, getting season tickets is anywhere between unnecessary and useless.

The majority of their favorite teams play on Saturdays and Sundays.

When Lufkin goes against a non-playoff team in early November, there may be as many band members as fans on the home side of the field.

Basically, what we’re saying is there aren’t many better options for Friday night entertainment than what is right in front of us in Lufkin.

If you happen to get a season ticket on the other side of the field, then there are still much worse ways to spend a Friday night. Show up and cheer on the Panthers, wherever the seat is.

For those who still have problems with that ticket, then feel free to join the Panthers for almost any district road game this season.

Feel free to walk up just as the game is starting and get your ticket for the home side.

Plenty of good seats will still be available. We promise.