Albany: It’s not just about football and track anymore

It wasn’t long ago that when discussing Albany high school athletics, the range of topics were narrowed fairly quickly.

For decades, the Lions have been a Big Country football power. While in track, AHS has produced several quality athletes, pole vaulters in particular.

It was difficult to speak about the Lions without one of these topics eventually dominating the conversation. That, however, is beginning to evolve, courtesy of burgeoning basketball and baseball programs which, at present, rival that seen on the gridiron.

Following yet another successful football campaign that saw the Lions push to the Region 2-2A DII semifinals, the Lions jumped into basketball, where they again reached a regional semifinal.

This is now a steady trend.

Albany hoops reached the Region I-2A semifinals in 2016 before falling to eventual state champion Canadian. In 2015, AHS basketball reached the regional quarterfinals and was a bi-district finalist in 2014.

Most recently, Lion baseball has snagged the spotlight, with an 8-2 win over area rival Stamford — signalling that a repeat performance of last year is more than possible.

A year ago, Albany baseball reached the Region I-2A championship series where it fell to Stamford. In 2015, Lion baseball went two rounds deep before falling to Hawley in the Region I-2A quarterfinals. The year before, the Lions entered the playoffs as district champions before bowing out in the area round.

The point, in case you’ve missed it, is that over the past four years, Albany has evolved beyond football power into what some may argue is the best overall small-school athletic program in Texas.

“I just think it’s the commitment from our kids,” said longtime Albany Athletic Director Denney Faith, whose football…