Lake area football fans have a lot to be proud of.

Lake area football fans have a lot to be proud of. Again, the Camdenton Lakers reached the state quarterfinal match, squaring off against a tough Parkway Central squad. And Eldon, who for years could barely eke out a win, is beginning to establish a statewide reputation as a formidable program.

In a rural areas like ours, strong football programs are a source of community pride. Football games are about so much more than the on-field action. Games are community events, rooted in social experiences that any area resident, young or old, can take part in.

Both the Lakers and Mustangs gave their respective communities something to celebrate this football season, with wins adding up and morale strong.

Even into the postseason, as the weather cooled and other sports concluded, there seemed to be no lack of enthusiasm for our boys on the gridiron.

The football season culminated with two losses on Saturday. Tough to swallow, the Lakers game — to which I attended — was close from kickoff until the ended, even though the final score read 23-13.

But just as impressive as the players on the field were the fans — parents, friends, relatives and just plain old community member — that came out to support the boys in purple and white.

Camdenton residents showed up in droves, tailgating in the morning hours before the game. The purple and white section of the stands were packed to the gills — many fans stood along the sidelines the entire game as every seat was spoken for. The crowd easily rivaled the Parkway Central side of the stadium in numbers, but the energy contest between the opposing sides of spectators was no contest.

The Lakers fans had ten times the energy than the fans of the Colts — at least from my perspective.

Even though the Lakers trailed the majority of the game, the crowd never lost interest, never gave up.

Standing on the sidelines taking photos, tweeting the action and taking notes, I would hear chants of "PUR-PLE HAZE" and "DE-FENSE" even when the action had died down.

Many stood up the entire game.

To me, that showed that parents and friends are just as dedicated to the team as the players.

The actions of everyone Saturday — players, fans and coaches alike — proved to me just how important a football game is to the community and just how important it is to support our schools' programs and activities.

So yes, the fans have teams well worth a huge amount of pride.

But the teams have a fan base worth equal the amount of pride.

Congratulations Lakers and Mustangs on fantastic season — can't wait to see what happens in 2014.