Last season, Alexander and Chapel Hill were the only two schools from the county to make their respective classification playoffs.
Both graduated some talented players but also return some solid starters from a year ago.
The schools will meet up this evening at 6:30 p.m. to conclude spring practice with a scrimmage. Since both are in different classifications, they will not play each other this coming season.
“We are looking to play someone in a different uniform,” Alexander coach Matt Combs said. “We have had a good spring practice and we are looking to compete.”
The Cougars went 10-2 last season to advance to the second round of the state playoffs in Class AAAAAA after finishing as region runner-up to Mays.
Gone from last season’s team is all-state players Daetrich Harrington at running back and Justin Hall at wide receiver. The Cougars also will be missing two-time county defensive player of the year Trayzel Jureidini-Wyche at defensive end and Conner Perry at linebacker.
However, the Cougars return several solid players on both sides of the ball.
Mason Wood returns for his second season to start at quarterback. Last season, the sophomore passed for 2,343 yards and 26 touchdowns with only eight interceptions. The Cougars averaged 203 yards through the air with Hall being the main go-to guy.
Junior Michiah “Rae Rae” Randolph looks to step in the spot vacated by the graduation of Hall, who signed with Ball State.
Last season, Randolph had 23 receptions for 312 yards and four touchdowns.
On defense, the Cougars will be led by linebacker Aaron Casey, who has received several Div. I FBS offers this spring.
“So far so good as spring practice has gone,” Combs said. “We are just looking to be physical in the spring game. The good thing is we still have several more weeks to get better before our first real game.”
The Panthers must also replace several players including quarterback Jadon Walker, who was named the Region 5-AAAA Offensive Player of the Year, last season.
Chapel Hill running back Tyre Shelton will be one of the focus of the offense. Last season, he rushed for 1,017 yards and 11 touchdowns. He finished third in the Class AAAA 100-meters at 10.85 seconds.
Shelton has committed to Miami-Ohio to play football.