DAVE MORRISON

SHADY SPRING – If Terymykal Alexander had his way, Shady Spring would not give up a first down.

That’s the defensive end in Alexander coming out in the Tigers’ senior.

Still he had to be happy with his defense’s performance in Shady Spring’s scrimmage effort against Westside last Saturday.

Zero points

One first down.

West ran 22 times for 26 yards, completed 3 of 10 passing for 10 yards and 36 total yards.

That’s quite a stat line.

“I think we did very well, especially when they pulled out the (yard marker) chains at the end,” Alexander said. “They got one first down on us the whole time. We did pretty well stopping them.”

Only small, fixable nuisances of the game were visible at the fray.

“We could use a little more intensity and firing off and getting to the backfield but for the most part we did a good job,” Alexander said.

Alexander has certainly done well at Shady. The 6-foot-2, 239-pound leader of the Shady Spring defense is coming off a 5-5 season in which he had 88 tackles, 28 solo, 19 tackles for a loss, four sacks and two fumble recoveries.

A ball of activity, who can often be seen jumping up and down the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped, Alexander was a special honorable mention all-state last season, despite missing two games with an injury.

“Oh yeah, he’s the leader of our defense,” head coach Vince Culicerto said. “He’s had an ankle problem, just reoccurring and he’s tough and worked through it the last three seasons. This year we’ve got enough depth we feel we can play him one way on defense. He really likes that idea. We can keep him fresh and healthy and that is just going to make him tougher.”

He has been the part of three Shady Spring teams that have been a combined 10-20 over the last three seasons.

This year there are expectations with the Shady Spring squad, which returns everyone and has added some key pieces, one of those Haven Chapman, a Woodrow Wilson transfer who scored the Tigers lone touchdown in the scrimmage against the Renegades.

“It was hard, especially coming in as a freshman and going 2-8 and the following year we were 3-7 and last year we did go 5-5,” Alexander said, “This year we’re looking to do a whole lot better, possibly 8-2 if not better.”

And 8-2 would almost assuredly put the Tigers in the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

“It’s been hard fighting through these battles,” Alexander said. “We’ve fought through these battles for three years in middle school and three years of high school and we’re looking for this turnaround. We want that banner up on the wall.”

He has full faith that this defense will be the engine that takes Shady as far as it can go.

“This defense can be excellent,” Alexander said. “We can stop (opponents) every down and wouldn’t have no problem with it. But it’s just going to have to be the hard work we do it practice to show it on the field.”

Even a touchdown, Alexander said, would be a disappointment, such are the expectations in Shady Spring this season.

“A major disappointment,” Alexander said. “Even if a touchdown does happen on us we can’t drop our heads. We’ve just got to get our heads up and hopefully our offense is going to pick us up and we get right back on the field and stop them.”

Alexander hasn’t made any plans for college, has not even considered it, but is not eschewing the idea.

“At this point I’ve not pushed anything but if somebody laid a scholarship out who had seen me play there is a chance I would take it,” Alexander said.