AHS Football Preview

Cougars Eyeing State Playoffs in 2022
Posted on 08/16/2022
Coming off a 5-4 season in 2021 in which they missed the state playoffs by a single game, Alexander High School enters the season looking to take the next step in head coach Olten Downs’ second season. 

“The thing about last year was we played all the playoff teams competitively and had a shot in those games in the fourth quarter, so our team feels like they should be there,” said Downs. “They’ve got a hunger, so every day when the guys feel like they don’t want to go, it’s easy to keep them reminded of the goals of the team and get them to push through to finish.”

With so many games coming down to the wire last season, the weight room has played a big part in the Cougars offseason program, as the coaching staff believes that getting stronger will help the team come out on top of close games in the fourth quarter.

“We felt like in some of the games we had a shot to win, we let them go at the end from a strength standpoint,” said Downs. “In high school football, the biggest, fastest and strongest teams are the best, so that’s something we’ll continue to work on this season.”

The Cougars hope to see these gains in the weight room reflected on the field, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. AHS returns nine starters from last season, including quarterback Jared Echols, wide receiver Eric Singleton and all five starting linemen from last year. 

Defensively, the Cougars graduated several key players from last year’s team, but Downs is confident in the group’s ability to mesh and come together quickly and make a positive impact on the field. 

“We’ve got to get some guys to grow up on the defensive side quickly,” Downs said, “so it’s kind of a flip of our team from last year when we had a lot of seniors on that side of the ball.”

Along with breaking in several new defensive starters, AHS will also begin play in a competitive new Region 5-6A that includes in-county rivals Douglas County and New Manchester.

“There’s not one game on our schedule that you can look at and say that it should be an easy one,” said Downs. “Every single game is going to come down to the end and see if we can protect the football and finish in the fourth quarter to give ourselves a shot for victory.”

AHS will scrimmage at home on August 12 against Carrollton and will officially open the regular season on August 19 at Riverwood High School.

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