It’s been a long time coming, but the Alpha Omega Academy Lions are finally set to showcase their skills in front of their home fans.
Alpha Omega is scheduled to kick off its first home game of 2019 Friday at 7 p.m. against Houston Grace Christian. The game will also mark the Lions’ district opener.
“We're really excited, and we hope a lot of people come out,” AOA senior Adam Ficklen said. “I can't wait to play against someone on our own turf.”
For the Lions, this is no ordinary home opener.
Alpha Omega installed a brand-new field this summer, aiming to improve the quality and reduce from of the drainage issues that have led to game cancellations in recent years. However, heavy rains in August set back the timetable on when the Lions could take the field on their new home turf.
As a result, AOA has been forced to take its scheduled home games on the road, while holding its practices on the school’s baseball and softball fields.
“It's definitely been challenging,” Alpha Omega junior Cole Garrison said. “It's not the same to practice on a baseball field, and we obviously don't have our goalposts for kicking or anything like that … it's posed some difficulties.”
Despite these difficulties, the Lions haven’t missed a beat. After falling to public school six-man power Oakwood 79-53 in the Kickoff Classic at Bryan Allen Academy, they’ve looked near unstoppable — outscoring opponents 197-68 in three straight road wins.
“We're a lot better than last year,” Ficklen said. “A lot of the same people, but everyone has gotten a lot better. Everyone has improved, and everyone is playing a lot harder and bringing their ‘A’ game.”
A stout defense has led the Lions to a perfect 3-0 record against TAPPS competition, but a new face on offense has also played a key role in the team’s success.
Sophomore Harrison Allen joined the AOA football program in the weeks leading up to the season, looking to try his hand at quarterback. But between learning a new position and having not played football since junior high, he wasn’t sure he’d be up to speed for 2019.
Lions head coach Jeff Norris decided to make Allen the starting signal-caller, however, and the decision has paid off. He’s passed for 20 touchdowns with just one interception in his first four games behind center.
For Allen, it’s an exciting and nerve-wracking time all at once as he gears up for his first home game at the varsity level.
“I'm really nervous,” he said, “but it's going to be exciting.”
By the numbers
Harrison Allen - 1,172 yds, 20 TDs, 1 INT
Cole Garrison - 780 yds, 13 TDs
Boyd Hanagriff - 130 yds, 1 TD
Blaine Ringo - 514 yds, 8 TDs
Jacob Poteete - 350 yds, 5 TDs
Cole Garrison - 13 TFL, 2 INT
Boyd Hanagriff - 16 TFL, 1 FR
Adam Ficklen - 6 PBU
Jacob Poteete - 11 TFL, 1 FR, 2 PBU