Following a 41-point loss to six-man power Waco Live Oak in last week’s season opener, Alpha Omega head coach Jeff Norris challenged his team to make a statement.
The Lions did just that on Thursday night, routing Katy Faith West 70-6 in their first home game of 2020 — a mercy-rule victory that was called at halftime.
“Just their attitude and the way they were coaching each other up on the sidelines,” Norris said when asked what impressed him most about his team’s performance. “(Cole) Garrison is coaching the younger linebackers when he's on the sideline and they're on the field ... just those little things. We challenged them and wanted to bounce back, and I feel like they did that.”
Thursday marked the Lions’ largest scoring outburst since Week 2 of last season, when they defeated Faith West 86-40. However, Norris notes that it is his defense that stood out to him the most.
Alpha Omega held the Eagles to just 51 total yards for the game — and if not for allowing a 60-yard touchdown pass, the Lions could’ve held their opponent to negative yardage. Blaine Ringo led the team with three sacks, while Cameron Marek added two more. In total, Alpha Omega brought down the quarterback six times, while recording five other tackles for loss.
“Positional defense,” Norris noted as the biggest improvement from last week. “Guys were doing their jobs and getting straight to the ball on defense, instead of wandering wide and letting guys get up the middle. We told them that it doesn't matter if Live Oak shows up with 25 guys, you have to beat the kid that's in front of you. That's what it boils down to.”
The Lions did not appear to miss a beat offensively, despite making several positional adjustments.
Harrison Allen spread the ball around to multiple receivers throughout the night, completing 8-of-10 passes for 155 yards and four touchdowns. Ringo and Cole Garrison were Allen’s top targets, with the duo combining for 130 receiving yards, while providing a pair of touchdown catches each. Garrison was also the Lions’ leading rusher with 128 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
With the game becoming a blowout midway through the first quarter, several younger Alpha Omega players were able to make an impact. Freshman Trey Mayton rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries, while junior Ben Wright found sophomore Bailey Hall for a 45-yard touchdown connection.
"I think they like their new positions," Norris added. "Ringo likes being a guy that we move around a bit. We're using him a little differently this year. We're going to hand it to him, we're going to pitch it to him and we're going to throw it to him. He's just a tremendous competitor. He's a guy that gets angry until he gets it right, and I love that about him. So I was happy with how he was able to make plays, and I was happy about how Allen spread it around on offense."
Next up for Alpha Omega is a road game at Houston Grace Christian on Oct. 9.