The Albany Lions have been one of the Big Country’s most consistent winners under veteran coach Denney Faith, who has compiled a remarkable 318-107-4 record in 34 seasons, all at Albany.
The Lions, who went 11-2 a year ago and won their 13th district title in the last 14 years, were 5-0 in capturing the District 8-2A Division II crown. Albany lost an 18-13 heartbreaker to eventual state champion Windthorst in the regional semifinals last season, and Faith believes his team this year can be even better.
The offense will be built around Jaheim Newton, who rushed for 1,628 yards and eight touchdowns a year ago. Junior Cole Chapman is expected to take over as the Lions’ starting quarterback.
Anchoring the offensive line are Monte Cauble and Bryce Asher.
Junior RB/DB Coy Lefevre and senior RB/LB Brooks Neece are key returning two-way performers for the Lions. Lefevre not only rushed 63 times for 657 yards and two touchdowns and caught 16 passes for 193 yards and three more scores a year ago but he is also the team’s top returning defender with 127 tackles. Neece had 66 carries for 367 yards and 12 TDs rushing and 23 receptions for 242 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 66 tackles, a sack and an interception.
Other key returnees for Albany include WR/DB Robert Bailey (10-142, 3 TDs receiving and 17 tackles, 1 INT), DE Taren Farmer (51 tackles, 6 sacks) and TE Cooper Fairchild (11-94, 2 TDs receiving).