Lamar faithful back the Cards
LAKE CHARLES — Before this season, Charles Cagle got his football fix only on Friday nights.
An avid West Orange-Stark High School fan, Cagle could be found year after year cheering on the Mustangs inside Dan R. Hooks Stadium.
But Cagle is also a 1967 graduate of Lamar University. The same enthusiasm for West Orange-Stark was once held for Lamar, but a 20-year hiatus for the Cardinals program and dismal results since its return hampered his excitement.
Cagle was in the stands Saturday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium in Lake Charles as Lamar defeated McNeese 21-17.
Six straight Lamar wins has Cagle back behind the Cardinals. He no longer has to settle for one game a weekend.
“I always supported Lamar football, but they went through a real dry spell there for a while,” Cagle said. “We always had a game to go to being West-Orange fans, but now that Lamar is back winning again and they have a real team now, I enjoy following them.”
Cagle was one of many Cardinals fans to make the trip to Lake Charles as Lamar faithful filled nearly a whole section of Cowboys Stadium.
Gary Anderson was one of those fans. He’s been a Cardinals supporter since moving to Silsbee in 1984.
Unfortunately for Anderson, now 70, Lamar’s football program was taken away just a few seasons after he moved to Southeast Texas.
“I was mad about that,” Anderson said. “But this season, it’s been great. Definitely making up for those lost years.”
Anderson has missed only two games since Lamar’s football rival nearly a decade ago. This year, he’s been at every Cardinals contest.
Anderson, who attends Lamar games with the same group of friends each week, said being at the McNeese game was of the utmost importance.
“Can’t miss this one,” Anderson said. “It’s all about the rivalry.”
Cardinals coach Mike Schultz said he hopes Saturday’s win over McNeese rewarded fans who have struck through Lamar’s many losing seasons.
It’s only one year, but Schultz hopes it mended the relationship between his team and its fan base.
“That’s our job right now,” Schultz said of building a stronger relationship with fans in Beaumont.
“Our fans have been great this year, but there’s some work still to be done. And it’s work that we have to do.
“What just happened on the field tonight, that’s the work I’m talking about.”