LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) — East Texas high school football is officially back! On Thursday, the Sabine Cardinals and Spring Hill Panthers are kicking off the season in East Texas.

“So, last night.. no sleep at all. We were up early this morning bouncing around all day. Anxious to be able to come to play and that’s what makes this Thursday night so great! We’re thankful to be here to kick off the first game in the state,” said Spring Hill Football Coach, Cody Gilbert.

Thursday, the Spring Hill Panthers and Sabine Cardinals kicked off the 2022-2023 season in East Texas. Students say this year is feeling brighter than the last two years.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing all the new friendships and bonds that are formed throughout the season. Getting to know your section and your friends, your line, and your team throughout the season. We have such a fun experience!” said Spring Hill High School student, Ananiah Selassie.

Parents said they are anxious to see how their new football coach will impact their community and the players during the season.

“I think the whole community is excited about the new coach and Athletic Director, Cody Gilbert for Sabine. He brings in a lot of exciting new culture that is really making a difference and impact, not just on the kids, but the community,” said Crystal Hawkins, Sabine Cardinals Booster Club. “I think everyone is just really excited about the changes he’s brought. I’m just really excited to see what that looks like on the field.”

Fans say they are excited that this year will bring new energy to the program.

“Man, it’s football season! It’s the time! When we start putting things up and start getting the funds raised, and doing what the athletic booster club does is to support these athletes… it’s a lot of fun, but a lot of work, but every bit of it is worth it when we get to watch them play on nights like tonight!” said parent, Chad Silvertooth.

All athletes have prepared for the season. Now, it’s time for East Texans to show their school spirit, loud and proud.