Editor's Note: This story will be in the 2019 Football Preview coming out Thursday.
Expectations are high once again for the Alex Longhorn football team and head coach Matt Brand.
The Longhorns open the season Sept. 6 with a long road trip to Laverne, which will serve as an early non-district test for the Longhorns. Alex also has to host Davenport a few weeks later, going with Brand’s philosophy of scheduling tough.
Brand talked about that philosophy ahead of the 2018 season, stating the tough schedule came from the 2015 season.
The magazine VYPE ranked Laverne No. 1 in Class B in its Pigskin Preview and ranked Davenport No. 3 in the class.
The Longhorns did get hit by graduation, including the loss of Kooper Boatwright at the quarterback position. But Brand is excited about this year’s group.
“We’ve got a really good group of young guys coming back,” he said.
Brand talked a little bit about the youth that he has on this year’s team.
“We’ve got some pieces that are young kids that didn’t play a lot last year that are gonna fill some spots that we lost,” he said. “We are extremely excited about the opportunity we have to contend for a state championship.”
Chase Byrne — a sophomore — has been the player scheduled to replace Boatwright at quarterback.
“He had a good freshman year on the junior high squad,” Brand said. “We’re excited about him.”
Tatton Anderson has been a constant threat for Alex during his first two seasons with the Longhorns. As a runner, he has ran for over 3,000 yards.
Anderson is a player that can play multiple positions and force defenses to adjust to his positioning on the field. According to Brand, if Byrne could not play, Anderson would take over the position if available.
Alex is coming off of an 8-4 season in 2018, winning its final four games of the regular season following a loss to Snyder, the district champion. Alex’s only district loss came to the Cyclones.
The Longhorns finished second in District B-3 and defeated Empire 54-6 in the first round of the playoffs, extending their streak of seasons with at least one playoff win to six seasons in a row.
Brand talked about the successful spring and summer that his program had, making the coaching staff even more excited about what is to come.
“We had a great spring. We had a great summer with workouts,” Brand said. “They (the players) know the opportunity they have in front of them, and they had a great spring and summer.
“We’re (the coaches) excited about the progress they made.”