In high school and college football, with players graduating every year, having a veteran squad is a big asset. This fall, the Gig Harbor Tides will be anchored by senior quarterback Davis Alexander, who enjoyed a breakout year as a junior, shattering numerous school records as the Tides dominated the Class 4A Narrows League.
Out at spring practice last week, Alexander looked comfortable and fully in command of the offense.
“I feel really comfortable,“ Alexander said. “I’m excited. I’ve been waiting for this since I was a little kid, watching my brother play. I feel great playing at the varsity level. I feel good.”
Already with a full grasp of the playbook, just getting back into a rhythm is the main focus for Alexander in spring practice.
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“(It’s about) really just getting back with the team and executing plays,” Alexander said. “We all work together during the summer but there’s nothing like coming out and actually being in pads and executing plays with coaches.”
After his explosive junior campaign, Alexander has drawn interest from U.C. Davis, Portland State, Eastern Washington, and has even been in touch with the University of Washington.
“We expect Davis to be a leader on and off the field,” Gig Harbor coach Aaron Chantler said. “Having a guy that’s a returning starter (is huge for a team); he’s got a lot of game experience. He knows the playbook better than any other player in the program. He’s got total control of the offense and we expect him to run it as well as he can.”
Alexander will have some help around him. Namely, speedy senior wide receivers Noah Samsen and Peninsula transfer Kyle Olson-Urbon. For a fast-paced offense that was already potent last season, this year’s group figures to be just as good, if not better. So how explosive can this year’s offense be?
“To be determined,” Chantler said, with a smile. “We’ve got to get on the field and see what it’ll be like against other teams. Getting a guy like Kyle, he’s definitely a good wideout ... very smooth, runs good routes, has good hands. We can be very explosive. We’ve got eight returning starters on offense from the (Graham-Kapowsin state playoff) game. We’ve got eight guys coming back on the defense. When you have those kinds of odds, you’re pretty happy going into the season.”
The Tides will have continuity in the backfield, as Alexander is joined by returning senior running back Adrian Valona. Since the Tides run a lot of read-option, having two guys on the same page already should paid immediate dividends.
“It’s really critical,” Chantler said. “They know how to play with each other. They know when the games are tight, usually one of them can step up and take it over. There’s no questions this year.”
Chantler pointed to senior corner Bailey Weir, senior offensive lineman Garrett Ness and junior wide receiver Shawn Kimble as players who have stood out in spring camp.