Cherokee County High School senior all-purpose player Slade Alexander was on the path of having a monster football season in 2020, but that all came crashing down after he suffered an ankle injury while playing defense in the first quarter of the Warriors’ Sept. 18 game against White Plains.
But Alexander didn’t want that to be the final play of his high school football career. He made it his mission to work hard at rehab and return in time for the playoffs.
Alexander not only made it back in time for the Warriors’ first-round playoff game at Mobile Christian on Nov. 6, he played valiantly by completing 8-of-13 pass attempts for 86 yards in a 17-14 loss.
Alexander finished the 2020 season with 475 yards on 74 carries with 11 touchdowns in five games. He completed 27-of-50 pass attempts for 300 yards and five touchdowns, and caught three passes for 57 yards. On defense, he posted 50 total tackles including three for lost yardage with a sack and three interceptions.
But the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Jacksonville State commitment still had one final opportunity to put on the pads as a high school player.
Alexander was selected to play in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl, which was played last Monday at AT&T Stadium in Dallas. He was one of only five high school players on the East roster from Alabama. Alexander earned a starting job as a safety for the East team in their thrilling 25-24 victory over the West.
“It was definitely the experience of a lifetime, playing in the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium,” said Alexander of his first-ever trip to Dallas. “It was a dream just to be out there on that turf. I was grateful to be chosen. I’m thankful.
“In the middle of the season after my injury, I didn’t think I would be playing in an all-star game, but when it came up, I wanted to take the opportunity because I didn’t get to play the second half of the season. I was like I might as well go out with a bang.”
Alexander said the East team practiced together twice before the contest. He said it was “basically all football” since the time his flight landed.
“It was hard coaching, that’s for sure,” Alexander said. “They expected a lot from us. They told us they weren’t going to take it light just because it’s an All-American game. They definitely treated it like a real game.
“It gave me a little taste of the future, as far as the speed of the game. It was definitely something I had to adjust to whenever I was in there. It’s much faster. Every guy around you is good.”
Alexander didn’t have much time to sightsee in Big D. He did get to tour AT&T Stadium while he was there, but he had to get back in time to play basketball for the Warriors in the Cherokee County Tournament this past Friday.
“My schedule is always pretty busy, going sport to sport,” Alexander said. “I was glad Coach (Caleb) Hays gave me the privilege to go out there at this point of the season. It was an experience I’ll never forget.”
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