Evangel ready for opener in new home

By DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer

For most high school football teams in the county, the first game of the season is still a couple of weeks away. For the Evangel Christian Lightning, it is only a matter of days.

The Lightning will take to the field Aug. 16 against the Ballard Christian Eagles in their season opener. For the first time in program history, they will have a home field of their own.

After spending the program’s existence using various stadiums around the Alabaster area to play home games, Evangel purchased the former Bases Loaded Complex and turned the complex into its athletic facility.

Head coach Del Clayton said the new field definitely added even more anticipation to an already exciting weekend.

“Being at the sports complex gives us a lot of excitement,” he said. Having our own facility, being able to truly say we’re at home, (adds) a lot of excitement.”

Clayton said he was very careful to make sure the team focused on the game amidst all the excitement.

“We played Ballard last year,” he said. They’ve got a good team, and a really good running back. (We’ve) got to contain him.”

Evangel boasts a unprecedented 16 seniors, most of whom form the starting lineup, and also has a great deal of depth at most of the positions. Clayton said he planned to give some of the younger players experience if possible.

“With it being an early season game, we want to play a lot of guys,” he said. “We’ve got some guys that we feel will be contributors and work on depth. We’ve had a good fall camp and made it through with very few injuries.”

The Lightning will kick the 2013 season off against the Eagles at 7 p.m at the Evangel Sports Complex, located at 6020 Highway 119, Alabaster.