Tag: Albany Lions

FEATURE: Albany’s Chapman on track despite loss of 2020 season

Photos courtesy of Albany High School student Elia Hebel

No 2020 track and field season. No problem in 2021 for Albany sophomore Cole Chapman.

Some athletes feel like they lost a year’s development after COVID-19 prematurely shut down the 2020 spring sports season. But Chapman appears to be on schedule. His top triple jump mark of 43 feet, 7 inches led the Big Country through last week’s track meets, and his best of 21-7 in the long jump ranked No. 2.

He contributes a lot of his success this spring to working on Saturdays with Albany assistant coach Ryder Peacock, a former state champion high jumper from Woodson who also competed collegiately.

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FEATURE: Beal’s reemergence in Albany a big plus for the Lions

ALBANY — For a full year, Albany senior Barrett Beal had no choice but to be patient. 

Ruled ineligible to play varsity football in 2019 after moving to AHS from Roscoe, the 18-year-old had to remain with the JV for a full season before being able to suit up for coach Denney Faith on a Friday night.

He is now making up for lost time. 

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FEATURE: Albany’s Faith, the dean of Big Country coaches, looked at COVID crisis as his biggest challenge

ALBANY — With the retirement of Wylie’s Hugh Sandifer during the offseason, Albany’s Denney Faith became the dean of Big Country football coaches, with 33 years, 307 victories, 16 district titles and four trips to state championship games on his résumé. 

There are very few challenges he hasn’t seen during his storied career and been able to overcome. Yet a virus from far-off China known as COVID-19 has proven to be the single most perplexing hurdle he has faced in more than three decades of coaching.

“It is a challenge, but it’s a challenge that’s invisible,” Faith said. “As a coach, you can see all the other stuff. You can see your opponent, you have to deal with the weather and while they may be tough to deal with, you can see all of it coming. 

“But (COVID) was out of the blue and it’s an invisible opponent. You really don’t know how to handle it. … As far as I know, to this extent, (we’ve) never had to face a challenge like this. So this was new for everybody.”  

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2020 ALBANY FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Lions could resemble Albany teams of old in 2020

With its successful transition to more of a spread look in recent years, the Albany football team and coach Denny Faith haven proven adaptable in the face of changing personnel.

The Lions were smaller and quicker, so Faith did what he felt was necessary: shelving his traditional I-formation in favor of shotgun sets with multiple wide receivers.

All along, however, the base offense at Albany has remained the “I” — a formation Faith had steadily won with for more than two decades. And in 2020, you may see the Lions utilize their old standby as personnel changes have evolved in a different direction.

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BCP COUNTDOWN TO TWO-A-DAYS: Albany Lions

Football is fast approaching, and we at BigCountryPreps.com are committed to bringing you the information you need to prepare for your favorite team’s season.

We’ll be releasing our Big Country Preps Preseason Football Preview, the most comprehensive look at the upcoming Big Country football season anywhere, on Friday, Aug. 14. But you won’t have to wait until then to sate your gridiron appetite.

Leading up to the first day of fall football practice on Aug. 3, we’ll be spotlighting each 11-man team in the area and posing some of the key questions they’ll face in 2019 as part of our “Countdown to Two-a-Days” series.

After featuring Roscoe on Friday, we move to  District 8-2A Division II with the Albany Lions. On Sunday, we will take a look at the Cross Plains Buffaloes, followed by the Hico Tigers on Monday.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Even Albany’s Faith is in uncharted territory during pandemic

The “What Might Have Been” feature series is Big Country Preps’ effort to celebrate area athletes who have seen their seasons affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The series will continue through June 15. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

Albany’s Denney Faith is used to recognizing a challenge and then tackling that task head-on.

You don’t win 307 football games and get a field named in your honor without thriving in adverse situations.

But nothing in Faith’s first 33 years as the Lions’ head football coach could have prepared him for the uncertainty of leading an athletic program in the middle of a pandemic.

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WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: Co-aces West, Neve had Albany poised for state tournament return

The “What Might Have Been” feature series is Big Country Preps’ effort to celebrate area athletes who have seen their seasons affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The series will continue through June 15 or until the UIL rules that high school athletics statewide may resume. If you have a suggested story for the “What Might Have Been” series, please contact Big Country Preps at Evan.Ren@BigCountryPreps.com.

After leading the Albany baseball program to its second state tournament appearance in a three-year span last season, Lions coach David Fairchild didn’t have to squint too hard to envision a similar run this spring.

The 27-year coaching veteran had graduated just three seniors from last year’s 23-8 squad and was returning a pair of pitching aces in senior Ben West and junior Cade Neve.

Those realities — and the 7-0 start to which they heavily contributed — have only made things more difficult for Fairchild and his Lions since their season was halted in its tracks by the COVID-19 outbreak and the University Interscholastic League’s related decision to suspend all sanctioned activities in mid March.

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FEATURE: Albany coach Denney Faith talks about the 300-win milestone

Denney Faith addresses his team during a 2019 playoff game

ALBANY —It will be among the top stories in the Big Country during the upcoming high school football season, and it won’t lack for attention. 

Television, radio, newspapers and websites will descend upon Albany to ask long-time coach Denney Faith about the 300-win milestone that he is poised to reach with just one more win. 

Faith, however, could do without all of the fuss. Talking about the milestone, which he narrowly missed during last year’s 9-6 campaign, is something he’d prefer talking about post-season, or better still, post-retirement.  

Nonetheless, Faith (299-101-4) agreed to speak about the approaching 300 mark and all that entails in this Q&A with  BigCountryPreps sportswriter Evan Ren . 

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ALBANY TEAM PREVIEW: Lions sporting deep, talented roster

ALBANY — If ever a tale of two seasons was told in Albany, 2018 would have been the year. 

Having suffered through its first 0-5 start since the mid 1950s, the Lions awakened heading into district, reeling off five straight wins, including a victory over a favored Hamlin team. AHS went on to knock off four straight teams in postseason play, including Hamlin again before falling in the 2A DII state semis to Gruver. 

The question heading into 2019 is, can the Lions carry their late-season momentum into this year? 

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