All-City Preview: What a week for Alexander
By Zach West
After the All-City Preview Friday night, I was beat. Chasing down four different coaches, teams and players moving rapidly in and out of Taft Stadium in the afternoon heat added up to a rather exhausting day. Or, at least I thought I was exhausted, until I talked with Douglass head coach Willis Alexander after his team’s title game victory over Star Spencer.
I knew something was up when the first-year coach asked if he could sit down for our interview … on the forty-yard line. While at first I thought he was just worn out from a long day in the heat, I quickly learned it was much more. On top of starting his first season as Douglass’ head coach and starting a new year of teaching - plenty of stress in and of itself – Alexander also has a one-week old baby to help take care of. That’s right, in the middle of two-a-days, Alexander was with his wife in the hospital, bringing a new life into the world.
Add in the fact that Alexander is also trying to be there for his son Pierre Alexander, who just started his senior season at Carl Albert, and you have a recipe for true exhaustion. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so tired.
One thing’s for sure. All of the hours of hard work Alexander and his players have put in over the summer appear to have payed off. While they didn’t dominate the All-City Preview – and probably should have lost to Millwood – they still won, and that’s all that counts. Especially for a squad that finished 1-9 last year – a low-point for a once-proud program. And with such a young team, the future is looking brighter and brighter for Douglass. Of course, with so many youngsters, somebody has to lead them, and Alexander emphasized the role his three captains - seniors Da’Sor Horton, Sheldon Smith and Leonard Friday – have played in his team’s development.
“They’ve been very instrumental in leading our team,” Alexander said. “Everyone has bought in – the young ones and the old ones … what few we have.”
(On an interesting side note, while it’s Alexander’s first year as a head coach at Douglass, he has coached this senior trio before – as eighth graders.)
Alexander and his seniors insist that while the championship was nice, the team has a long ways to go to restore the program to where it once was.
“We’ve got to keep working hard,” Alexander said. “We’ve got to build on this city championship and keep getting better. This only lasts through tomorrow.”
Watch out for Horton:
He didn’t reach 1,000 yards last year, but you’d never know it from watching Douglass running back Da’Sor Horton tear through opposing defenses at the All-City Preview. While you can read more about the senior’s dominant performance in the article I wrote for Saturday’s paper, I’ll add this for the blog: Horton could push 2,000 yards this season. Obviously, it’s quite early to be predicting such high numbers, but barring injury, Horton is sure to improve drastically on his 909 yards from last season.
“I was mad,” Horton said of falling just short of 1,000. “I think I’m one of the top backs in the state, and I’ve got one of the best lines in the state.”
While that’s quite a claim, I don’t believe Horton is that far off. At 6-1, 190 pounds, Horton has both the speed to break away from defenders, and the strength and quick legs to break through plenty of tackles. With a new coach, more focused offseason workouts, and the fact that he will called upon to carry the bulk of the Trojan offense, I can’t blame Horton for being extremely excited about his chances in the upcoming season.
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