The Albany Lions have been a thriving program for years. In 36 years with Denney Faith as coach, they’ve won 330 games and been to state four times. However, they haven’t been able to it.

Denney Faith said, “Haven’t been able to get over the hump yet, but that’s not gonna keep us from trying. So we’re gonna keep working at it. Keep working hard, these guys are hungry. We’re gonna go at it just like we do every year. That’s why you come out here and practice and come out here in this hot weather and sweat and do all this stuff in August to get you ready for that.”

The players are grateful to play a part in it.

Cole Chapman said, “The legacy’s been here for a long time. Every year they’ve gone pretty far, so just try to keep it going.”

Under a legendary coach.

Coy Lefevre said, “Awesome. It’s just an awesome legacy I guess. It’s fun getting to be out here and getting to be coached by the best.”

After a heartbreaking loss to Stratford in the semifinal last year, the team already put that in the rear view on the bus ride home that night.

Faith added, “Because on the way back on the bus we had kids talking about this year. It really hurts when that happens, but when you look back on it we had a great season. Wish they’d gone further. We have kids who are mature enough that know we were that close. Hear them talking on the bus about, ‘Okay we gotta go back to work, then that was exciting.”

A deep playoff is expected of the Lions this year. Actually, they’re picked to win state.

London Fuentes said, “It’s big for us but I think we just need to take it one game at a time. Not think that far ahead yet. Just get better from here on out.”

Ty Edgar said, “I think it’s a big thing, everybody’s got high expectations for us this year. And we just need to prove it.”

Albany kicks off their season at home against Trinity Christian.