HEBRON – After the clock ticked down and Alden-Hebron coach John Lalor addressed his players, senior Avi Mor hung around to take it all in.
The lights. The cold Autumn wind. Playing at home on a Friday night.
The community coming together to support their team. The 47-7 Northeastern Athletic Conference loss to Ottawa Marquette hardly mattered after the Giants (6-3 overall, 6-3 NAC) played the school’s first Friday night home football game.
“We made history,” Mor said. “It could be my last home game. We got the whole community involved. It was awesome. It was such a difference, such a change in terms of what we’re used to.”
After having to play the rest of its home games on Saturday afternoons, the Giants were excited for the Friday night atmosphere. Kristin Snell, a teacher at A-H and ticket taker at the game, estimated that the attendance was triple that of a regular home game.
Thirty-four former players signed a sign-in sheet at the gates, with players coming from as recent as last year’s graduates James Horton and Logan Yerk to 1962 graduate Gordon Johnson.
“It was a great atmosphere, a playoff atmosphere,” Lalor said. “I think the fans enjoyed it. The kids played hard. I’m proud of the way they played.”
Mor and Nick Beck both hoped that they started an Alden-Hebron tradition.
“It was cool to make history,” Beck said. “This was our first time under the lights, and I hope they keep it going.”
The Crusader’s size and speed proved to be too much for the Giants to handle, racking up 423 total yards. Hebron finally found the end zone with Beck scoring on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter that capped off a 10-play, 70-yard drive. Beck finished with 126 yards on 20 carries.
Lalor said playing the top team in conference before playoffs start can only help the team.
“The game plan was right, we just didn’t execute,” Lalor said. “We’re very young. Their size and talent wore us down.”