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Cougars getting ready for new season, region foes
by E. Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
July 16, 2014 02:18 PM | 616 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>Alexander head coach Matthew Combs, center, sets up a play during summer practice last Thursday.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Alexander head coach Matthew Combs, center, sets up a play during summer practice last Thursday.
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Coming off its most successful season in nearly 20 years by winning eight games in 2013, the Alexander football team spent this offseason in intense preparations for a repeat performance this year.

The Cougars, under head coach Matt Combs, had a magical campaign last year, reaching the postseason for the first time since 1997 which was also the last time they won eight contests in a season and had a winning record. They also reached the quarterfinals of the Class 4A playoffs after road wins over Dalton and Lanier.

Alexander returns the services of rising senior running back Mikell Lands-Davis, who emerged as one of the top players in the Southeast after rushing for 2,374 yards and 27 touchdowns last season. In the Lanier victory, Lands-Davis ran for a career-high five touchdowns along with 304 yards on the ground. It was the third time that season he ran north of 300 yards in a contest, posting a career-high 321 yards against Bremen and 312 against LaGrange.

Lands-Davis recently verbally committed to play college football for Georgia Tech and had offers from Clemson, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Michigan, among others.

He will be joined in the backfield by rising junior quarterback Baylor Whitefield who had 1,781 yards passing last season with 18 touchdowns.

Rising senior Isaac Zico will be the Cougars’ top returning receiver after grabbing a team-high eight touchdowns last season.

Defensively, Alexander lost its top five tacklers from last season due to graduation including standouts Taylor Schartle, Leundre Agree and Collin Giesey. Departed defensive backs Deonte Cox and Jaquan Grier must also be replaced. Rising seniors Jacob Whitley and Bo Caldwell are the top returning defensive players for the Cougars.

Alexander moves up a classification this season to Class 5A and will be grouped with fellow Douglas County programs New Manchester, Chapel Hill and Lithia Springs in the same region. The Cougars’ region also contains perennial playoff team Allatoona out of Cobb County along with neighboring Paulding County foes East Paulding, South Paulding and Hiram.

The Cougars open the season at Douglas County High School on Aug. 29.

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