Watch out Texas, here come the Lions.
The Alpha Omega Academy Lions stormed through their regular-season finale Saturday, beating the Northeast Christian Warriors 55-6 and loudly pronouncing their intentions for their first trip to the TAPPS Division I six-man state football playoffs.
“We’ve got to take it up another notch,” running back Chris Shirley said after rushing for 177 yards and four touchdowns. “We know that it’s going to get harder each time we go up. It’s serious business and we want to go all the way.”
Though the Lions clinched the TAPPS Division I District 5 championship last week, they knew they had to play their hearts out in order to clinch home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Lions did just that as they blew by Northeast Christian to finish 5-0 in District 5 play.
Playing at home later this week will be a huge advantage. The Lions host Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills on Saturday afternoon.
“We knew that this game was just as important as any of the other ones,” Shirley said after the Lions finished off the Warriors in the first half. “We wanted to come out and finish it as fast as we could.”
Because AOA was ahead by more than 45 points, the game was called at halftime and the Lions mildly celebrated another convincing victory.
The Lions are 4-1 when playing in their own backyard this season. During that span, they have outscored their opponents 206-72.
Saturday’s win also was the third one Alpha Omega has won by the mercy rule.
“We had to be ready for anything and it just turned out that it was a little more lopsided than we maybe hoped,” Lions coach Jeff Norris said. “We executed fairly well and I thought our starting defense was fairly solid.
“Overall, I’m happy because we’re district champs.”
The Lions held the Warriors to a mere 106 yards of total offense. Dakota Reeves played a monster game as he recorded two tackles for losses and dominated the line of scrimmage for two quarters.
It didn’t take long for the Lions to get on the board after AOA’s defense forced a three-and-out on the Warriors’ 25 yard line.
Running back Garrett Garrison ran for 18 yards into the red zone. On the next play, quarterback Marco Pardo scored on a 7-yard run. Losha Thompson converted his first of six 2-point conversion kicks that made it 8-0.
That was just the beginning.
Shirley broke through an open seam that was created by Pardo’s block and went 37-yards for a touchdown that capped a three-play, 43-yard drive. Shirley later intercepted a pass and returned it for a 37-yard touchdown. Thompson’s 2-point conversion increased it to 24-0.
Shirley also returned a punt 37 yards for another score to increase the lead to 32-0.
The Lions added three more scores on a touchdown run by Shirley (40 yards), Garrison (2 yards) and a fumble recovery in the end zone by senior Johnathan Osborne.
With their goals for the regular season accomplished, the Lions know that they have to up their game if they want to make it far in the playoffs.
Alpha Omega players pumped about first trip to state football playoffs
Watch out Texas, here come the Lions.
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Justin Gilbert earned a mini vacation away from the freezing cold in Oklahoma this week. The Oklahoma State senior who was a three-sport star at Huntsville High School is flying to sunny Florida today for The Home Depot College Football Awards Show, scheduled Thursday at the Atlantic Dance Hall at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Gilbert is one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is given annually to the most outstanding defensive back in college football.
Special invitation for Sam Houston State senior
Sam Houston State senior running back Timothy Flanders has accepted an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine Game, the longest-running college all-star game in the country. The game is set for Jan. 18 at 3 p.m. and will be televised on the NFL Network.
BEARKATS FOOTBALL: The one that got away
It was there for the taking.
Sam Houston State was less than a minute away from surviving a slugfest with fourth-seeded Southeastern Louisiana and possibly hosting a quarterfinal matchup against New Hampshire this week.
All the Bearkats needed to do was keep the Lions from getting into the end zone and they’d notch another playoff victory.
Lions make ‘big plays’ down stretch, Kats don’t
Same scene, same result.
The Bearkats played a much closer game in their second matchup in three weeks against Southeastern Louisiana, but they still watched a two-score first-half lead turn into a deficit. At one point, the Kats led 21-10, just as they had before losing to the Lions on Nov. 16.
BEARKATS FOOTBALL — Bigger prize at stake this time
The Bearkats have a second chance to make a lasting impression.
After blasting Southern Utah 51-20 in the opening round of the FCS playoffs last week, Sam Houston State will face fourth-seeded Southeastern Louisiana for the second time this season in Hammond, La., in tonight’s second-round showdown.
Huntsville headed to Class 5A next year
Don’t freak out, sports fans. The Huntsville Hornets are moving up to Class 5A again, but it’s the new 5A, not the old one.
The University Interscholastic League is adding a conference 6A to its athletics alignment starting next fall, so the new 5A will look much like the current Class 4A. The enrollment numbers for both are nearly identical, which means Huntsville still will be competing with schools like Brenham, Willis and Magnolia, not The Woodlands, Conroe, Klein Forest and Oak Ridge.
BEARKAT FOOTBALL — Eager for another shot
Among the final 16 teams left in contention for an FCS national championship, it doesn’t take much to get a team fired up at this point in the season.
Saturday’s contest isn’t just any ordinary second-round playoff game for the Bearkats. The matchup against No. 4 seed Southeastern Louisiana will be a rematch from their Southland Conference clash three weeks ago in which the Lions prevailed 34-21.
The Kats can hardly wait to get it going.
SCHALLENBERG: Just getting warmed up
Heading into the second round of the playoffs, the Bearkats are getting healthier, especially running back Timothy Flanders, and remain focused on task at hand of returning to Frisco for another shot at an FCS national championship.
FCS PLAYOFFS: Bearkats keep chugging, win 51-20
Get ready for Sam Houston State-Southeastern Louisiana II.
Like they’ve done during the playoffs over the previous two seasons, the Bearkats made short work of a squad from the Big Sky Conference on Saturday afternoon in the first-round Football Championship Subdivision playoff game.
Bearkats get more physical in first round of playoffs
Sam Houston State head coach Willie Fritz challenged the Bearkats last week to be more physical.
In the two games leading up to Saturday’s first-round Football Championship Subdivision playoff win over Southern Utah, Fritz said the Bearkats had not been combative enough.
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