The Augusta Stallions have done everything possible on the field to establish themselves as winners throughout the community.
The first-year club won the American Conference and ended the regular season perfect at home. The team's overall 13-3 record is second-best in the league.
Yet Mike Neu keeps scratching his head wondering what the team has to do to sell out the 6,200-seat Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.
"It is disheartening," Neu said. "Our players wonder to themselves, `Are we a good football team or not?' They take that personally when we come out here and this place is not full."
The Stallions average more than 5,000 fans per home game, and there were 5,058 fans in the arena on Friday night for Augusta's 49-26 win over Charleston. However, the Stallions have failed to sell out a game this season.
Stallions officials now are wondering if it is possible to sell out its first-round home playoff game against rival Carolina on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.
"In order for us to win a championship, we've got to have the support of the community," Neu said. "That's the missing ingredient."
Carolina's win over Pensacola on Friday night locked the Rhinos in as the No. 7 seed as Augusta's first-round opponent. The Stallions defeated the Rhinos 48-36 at home two weeks ago.
Should Augusta advance to the second round it would play host to a yet-to-be-determined opponent on either Saturday or Sunday night.
Meanwhile, tickets are on sale for Augusta's Tuesday night game. The Stallions have home-field advantage for at least two playoff games. For ticket information, call 724-2400, ext. 357.
For the second straight week, Augusta did not allow a kick return for a touchdown.
Charleston entered Friday night's game with eight kick returns for touchdowns. However, the Swamp Foxes did not cross midfield on a kick return. Also, three of Chris Chambers' last four kickoffs were touchbacks.
WALTER PAYTON ALLIANCE:
The Stallions are asking fans to bring an unwrapped toy to Tuesday night's game as part of the Walter Payton Alliance for Children.
Donation boxes will be in front of the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center on the Seventh Street side.
After all the toys are collected, children in need will receive the donated toys for Christmas.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 868-1222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.