The Mark Sanders era at Victory Christian officially kicks off tonight as the Lions host Class 2A foe Holy Spirit. Tonight’s game also is the Lions first game back in Class 1A, which is something that they waited for the last two seasons.

“It is going to be pretty interesting,” Sanders said. “This is my first time being a head coach. I am looking forward to it. I have been there since the start of June and I worked the boys out all summer. They have really taken to me and they have really grasped a hold of what I have been trying to teach them in my program and they are really excited. They got dropped back down to 1A this year; they were in 2A the last two years and had a hard time. They are ready to get back to 1A and show what they’ve got. We are pretty excited.”

Sanders has the tough task of changing his players’ mindsets. The Lions have only won one game since the 2010 season. Sanders’ winning attitude has changed the atmosphere on campus.

“I am ready to get out there and win,” Sanders said. “I told my boys, when you hate to lose as much as you love winning, you will achieve excellence. Hopefully, things will go good for us. They have great attitudes for a team that has won one game in four years. You can imagine what the expectations are for them; they are not very high. With me coming in, all I have heard from the parents is that this is the most energy that they have seen on campus in a long time. Right now, I have 30 varsity players. Last year, they played a game where they had to play eight guys on the field against Fultondale. We had a record number guys coming out and playing. Hopefully, we can do good things.”

Holy Spirit enters the season looking to improve from a 1-9 season in 2013. The Lions will have to make in-game adjustments against the Titans, since Sanders doesn’t know what kind of offense or defense they will face tonight.

“Would another week help us? Yeah, but we have really smart guys and they have been able to pick up on what we have been teaching them,” Sanders said. “They have impressed me. We have had days that weren’t so great and we have had days that have been awesome. It really depends on how focused they are going into (tonight). Hopefully, during school we can get them focused on the task and come out with a win. That is what we are focusing on – winning. We have to win one for the home crowd.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from Richard Adams Stadium.

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