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February 5, 2014

Four from Alex sign to play at Northwestern Oklahoma

ALEX —

For the first time in eight years, a class of Alex seniors will move on to play football at a university.

Four of last year's Class B state semifinalists will go on to play at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva. Running back Jose Ochoa, linemen Devin Thornberg and Cody Carnes, and linebacker Ryland Ketchum signed their national letters of intent in the Roy Peters Auditorium on Wednesday.

"This was a long time coming," Thornberg said. "It's what we've dreamed of."

Northwestern Oklahoma is the alma mater of Alex head coach Matt Brand. It was his senior class that had players graduate and go onto play in college for the last time before this new group came along.

"It just shows hard work, in-season or offseason, pays off," Ochoa said.

Recently the four players visited the campus in Alva and Brand said they all were pleased with their experience. The group is also excited to know that not every face in the campus crowd will be unfamiliar when they arrive.

 "I like it, because we've played football together ever since we knew each other," Ketchum said. "We didn't know anything different."

"It's going to help us out, because we're not going up there blindfolded," said Ochoa. "We've got people we know will help us, and they know what we can do, so they'll push us."

On top of their play throughout the season, Ochoa credits this opportunity to the Longhorns' playoff run to the state semifinals for the first time in program history since the 1950s.

"It was three more games to showcase your ability and for them to see how you handle yourself under pressure," Ochoa said.

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