The Lufkin Panthers lost a tough one this season to a team that's now about to play for a state championship, so you might say we helped toughen them up on their journey to the state title game.  Even though they beat us, will you be in their corner as they represent East Texas in Arlington?

Lufkin scored first in the game August 31st against the Longview Lobos and the Panthers were ahead 14 to 10 at halftime, but they couldn't hold the lead and the Lobos came back to win the game 35 to 27.  After a semi-final playoff win last Saturday, the Lobos are on their way to the state championship game on December 22.

The August game was a tough way to start the season on the road against a tough team like Longview, and it makes us wonder if the outcome might have been different if the two teams had played later in the season in Lufkin or at a neutral site.  But the schedule is what it is, and when Longview plays for a state title this weekend they can thank the Panthers for the stiff competition right out of the gate that set them on course for success the rest of the season.

Besides the Longview game, the Panthers only other loss on the season was against Frisco Lonestar November 24th in the playoffs.

The Lobos will face Beaumont West Brook at AT&T Stadium at 3 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 22 for the state championship. The Longview Journal said the Lobos met West Brook in the opening round of the playoffs in 2016 and 2017 and lost 34-33 in Beaumont in 2016 and won 42-21 in Longview last season.  The Lobos played in back-to-back state title games in 2008 and 2009, and this will be their first trip back to the championship game since then.

Will you cheer for the Lobos?  If you have relatives in Beaumont maybe not, but I think I'll put my support behind the Lobos on Saturday and hope they take the crown.  And then watch next year as the Panthers give them a big run for that trophy.