Alexander Cougars Football - "Period of Excitement" This Spring
The end of the 2021-2022 calendar year for high school sports in Georgia is almost at its end, but with that end, football teams around the state are already beginning to tune up for the 2022-2023 season with spring football wrapping up. One of the many teams set to hit the field on Friday in spring game action, is the Alexander Cougars, who will be back under direction of Coach Olten Downs, who will be in his second season as head coach of the Cougars.
“It has been a period of excitement,” Downs said of being with his players the past two weeks as they have been participating in official spring activities adding that “spring is all about seeing how our kids have grown from the previous season”. And for Downs, one of the areas he will be paying attention to on Friday when the Cougars suit up against the Mays Raiders in their spring game is the offensive line. “I want to see how our offensive line has matured,” Downs said, noting that last season, some of his returning players did not get as much playing time like what they may be seeing this upcoming season, so “maturity” is something Downs and his coaching staff will be keeping an eye on.
Ultimately, Downs believes his teams has made “tremendous strides” in several areas including in the weight room to help them develop into a “stronger” team and that being around the team the past two weeks has “good” because he and his staff have had the opportunity to really put eyes on the players that have improved and allow them to “see the fruits of their labor,” labor that Downs hopes will help the Cougars “take it to the next level”. Last season, in his first year as head coach, the Cougars finished 5-4 overall and just missed out on the playoffs as they finished fifth in their region standings.
“We lost a lot of close games and we won some close games, but there were some games where we felt like we definitely had a shot at the end of the game,” however, Downs says it is time for the Cougars to “get over the hump,” and that is something he says player leadership will play an important role in. “Leadership is everything. Often times, we talk to the kids about being leaders, but they don’t know how to be leaders and so we’ve been trying to show them the right way, how to lead and teaching when we can,” Downs said, adding that leaders on the field “as extensions of our coaches” is an area of growth that will be important for the Cougars.
The Cougars will take on Mays on Friday, May 20 in their spring game and will open the 2022-2023 season against the Riverwood Raiders on August 19.