Alexander faces test at No. 3 Cartersville

Alexander junior quarterback Donovan Hoskins has passed for 324 yards and rushed for 166 yards and accounted for six touchdowns in leading the Cougars to two consecutive wins to start the season.

Alexander has been impressive in starting the season with two consecutive wins.

The Cougars have outscored their opponents 95-13 to rack up wins against Chapel Hill and Lithia Springs to start the season.

Friday, the Cougars will face their biggest test of the young season when they travel to No. 3 Cartersville for another non-region contest.

“We have gotten better each week,” Alexander coach Matt Combs said. “The mistakes that we made against Chapel Hill, we didn’t make against Lithia Springs. I thought we played hard and real aggressive on defense. I think the defense has done a great job of setting the tone for the game.”

The Cougars will need that and more against a Cartersville team that has averaged 380 yards of offense in wins over Morrow and West Forsyth.

Cartersville has won a state-record 60 straight regular-season games and is always among the top ranked teams in the state. The Purple Hurricanes are one of 15 schools that have been in the top-10 rankings for each of the past 50 ranking weeks.

Cartersville, which is fifth on the list, has been in the rankings for 83 weeks.

This will serve as the final tune-up for the Cougars before they enter region play against Paulding County following a bye week.

Combs called it a good test for his squad as they enter a region that consists of Douglas County, Dalton, Carrollton and Rome. Last season, the Cougars made the postseason after finishing fourth in the region.

“It gives us a good test because we will play in a very solid region,” Combs said. “We know Cartersville will be well-coached and a disciplined team. As we always say, we have to go up there and only worry about our type of football. We have to play fast and aggressive.”

Cougars senior linebacker Luke Blasczyk agreed.

“It will be a test,” he said. “I think we have what it takes. We got as many good guys as they do.”

Offensively, junior Donovan Hoskins has been directing the Alexander offense as he replaces Blake Hembree at quarterback.

Hembree, who has graduated, set most of the team’s passing records last season.

In two games, Hoskins has completed 50% of his passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns. He has also been effective in the team’s ground game with 24 carries for 166 yards and three touchdowns.

“I think I’m getting real comfortable in the offense,” Hoskins said. “I’m getting us to everything.”

The Purple Hurricanes have also been led by their quarterback Stratton Tripp. The senior has completed 60% of his passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns with only one interception. Junior running back Quante’ Jennings Jr. has rushed 20 times for 171 yards and four touchdowns.

Cartersville is averaging 140.5 yards on the ground with six different ball-carriers getting a chance to contribute.

“We want to stay fresh,” Cartersville second-year coach Conor Foster said of the rotation at running back in the Cartersville Daily Tribune. “We have a talented group of running backs, and we think they each bring some unique talents. So we’re going to give them the opportunity to showcase it, and we’ve got an offensive line that’s emerging and played really well tonight. So, again, rotation, fresh legs, that’s always going to be a big part of what we do.”