Alexander Looks to Continue Improving in 2015< < Back to
On the back of each Alexander Spartans team t-shirt reads one simple phrase, “GLORY: Never Retreat, Never Surrender”.
During his brief tenure in Albany as head coach, Alex Penrod took a one-win Spartan team in 2013 and dramatically improved them into a .500 team in contention for a TVC-Ohio title in 2014. For this upcoming season, he is changing the mindset of his players once again.
“It is all about changing the culture,” Penrod said. “The most important play is the next play.”
During last year’s transformation, Alexander’s primary focus resided in its defensive effort, where they held five teams to 20 points or less, two of which were shutouts. Penrod and his staff are hoping for much of the same this season.
“The kids really take pride on what they have been doing on the defensive end,” Penrod said. “Championships are won on that side of the ball.”
Although defensive intensity will remain a large ingredient to their recipe for success, the Spartans are making the offense its number one point of emphasis during two-a-days. It all starts up front, where Alexander will start five seniors on the offensive line. With a talented, veteran group to anchor this unit, Penrod believes they can exceed expectations.
“Your money is made up on the front line,” Penrod said. “Now that they are familiar with what we are doing, our line will be what carries us.”
The hard truth for the Spartans offense lies in the loss of production from former starting quarterback Brody McGrath and dynamic halfback Josh Barnes. Following their graduation, this offense knows there are some serious holes to fill.
”Those guys were probably 85 percent of our offense, so it is not going to be easy,” Penrod said.
With big shoes to fill, Alexander’s next signal-caller is senior Taylor Kimbrough. After performing well in camp, Penrod spoke volumes about Kimbrough’s character and his ability to lead this team on and off the field.
The final pieces to this offensive puzzle are the playmakers on the outside to bring it all together. In yet another area Penrod expressed his confidence, he feels the team will spread the wealth to many different impact players.
Perhaps the most notable offensive threat on the Spartans roster is senior running back Mason Chapman, who has been working on all facets of his game in preparation for the season opener.
“I have been working on getting quicker, but my footwork can always get better,” Chapman said. “I have also been trying to get stronger to be able to keep running through contact.”
It is no secret that Alexander is aiming high for 2015, and with so many talented teams in the TVC-Ohio, it is sure to be an exciting finish.
“I think that we can win a conference championship and make the state playoffs,” Penrod said. “It’s exciting, because I believe it, and my players do as well.”
Kimbrough echoed his coach’s enthusiasm by stating that anything less would not be good enough for him and his teammates.
The Spartans will begin their season on Aug. 28 against rival Federal Hocking, a team they shutout 30-0 in last season’s opener.