Hammerheads hang helmets in Robstown

Pete Garcia, The Sports Guy

For proof if this season was everything the Corpus Christi Hammerheads organization had hoped for, make a trip to Central Pavilion Arena in Robstown Saturday evening.

In there, you'll find the Hammerheads, presently the No. 2 seed in the Intense Football League, going head-to-head against the Frisco Thunder in the first round of the IFL playoffs.

Look closer and you'll quickly notice that the arena is packed, filled to its 2,500 capacity.

And the icing on top of this indoor football cake is in the people you'll see there. Aside from the longtime hardcore fans from Corpus Christi are countless new faces - people who had never been to an indoor football game before this season… people from Alice, Robstown, Kingsville, Orange Grove, Premont, Freer and other parts.

"We had to shift gears a bit this season because we're going after a new fan base," said Hammerheads and IFL owner Chad Dittman. "Playing in a new arena, we're dealing with new fans and new markets, but everything seems to be looking very good for the rest of this season and the next season as well."

After the 2006 season, the Hammerheads were moved out of the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, and landed in the newly built Central Pavilion Arena at the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown.

There the Hammerheads not only found a homefield, but they found a new home. The team was immediately embraced by its new fan base.

The club picked up major sponsors from the area like C.C. Forbes LP from Alice, which recently paid for new scoreboards for Alice High School and Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco. The team's games were also picked up by Alice's Fox Sports Radio 1070 AM.

Maybe it was the friendly confines of their new digs, but the club's fortunes off the field translated to Ws… 12 of them, including six in Robstown. Only first place Louisiana won more home games this season.

The Hammerheads finished the regular season with the league's second-best record. At 12-2, Corpus Christi earned a first-round home playoff game; a game set for Saturday at Central Pavilion Arena against the Frisco Thunder.

Ironically, its the same Thunder team the Hammerheads beat, 53-36, in their season finale last Saturday.

pete.garcia@aliceechonews.com