Jamey Rootes, Houston Texans team president, spoke at the Rotary Club luncheon in Nacogdoches on Wednesday at the Hotel Fredonia. Rootes emphasized his excitement for both his Texans' team upcoming season, as well as the annual Battle of the Piney Woods featuring the Stephen F. Austin football team.
The Texans are coming off of their most successful season in franchise history. Last season Houston won the AFC South division for the first time, they also played in, and even won their first ever playoff game. It is safe to say that expectations are high for Houston again this year and Rootes says his team is ready for the pressure.
"After winning our first playoff game our fans expectations have gone to a whole new level," said Rootes. "If we want to be a sustained success we've got to learn to deal with high expectations, and I have a good feeling that our team will be able to manage it well."
This season the Lumberjacks will play in Reliant Stadium for the third time in the Battle of the Piney Woods. Last season the game in Reliant set the Southland Conference record for attendance with 25,083 fans, and this year they are expecting to sell somewhere between 26,000 and 30,000 tickets.
Rootes explained at the luncheon that the Battle of the Piney Woods recently renewed it's contract with Reliant Stadium through the 2017 football season. The goal is to create a "second homecoming" type atmosphere.
"We don't want this to be a one year experience," said Rootes. "We want this to be a tradition for a long time in Houston, Texas. When we can create memories for a university alum, that is thrilling and it is something we celebrate, and we are hoping to do it for a very long time."
SFA football coach JC Harper admitted that playing in an NFL stadium certainly helps when recruiting future Lumberjack players.
"It is a big event, our players love it and we recruit to it and use it because who wouldn't want to play in that type of atmosphere," said Harper. "Our players love the NFL so being able to play in a professional stadium is definitely a selling point."
This years game will be broadcast on the Southland Conference TV Network and kickoff is set for 3:00 p.m. from Reliant Stadium.
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