To become the Americus Times-Recorder Two-Way Player of the Year, a player must not only perform on one side of the ball, but also become a difference maker anytime he is in the game on either side of the ball. This is never an easy task because excelling on both offense and defense requires an extremely high level of athleticism, versatility and endurance to match a very football-smart mind. In 2012, Southland Academy starting fullback and linebacker Andrew Alexander provided a true threat on both sides of the line, and earned the All-Area Two-Way Player of the Year.
Alexander is the perfect example of a player than can have a major impact on both sides of the ball. On offense he nearly eclipsed the 1,000 yard marker as a fullback while also paving a running lane for starting tailback Dustin Shattles. On the defensive side Alexander was often found disrupting the backfield and giving opposing quarterbacks and running backs a headache that they must always locate before taking a snap or a hand-off. His never-quit attitude powered him to not only an All-Region selection, but he was also elected as the Raiders only All-State player in 2012.
When Alexander took a hand-off from quarterback Jon Adkins he was immediately looking for someone to punish. The Raiders could always count his downhill running style to get the tough yards in big time situations. On his 139 carries as a fullback, Alexander averaged 6.7 yards per carry totaling 930 yards while scoring nine rushing touchdowns for the Raiders. When he wasn’t running the ball, Alexander would make holes for 1,100 yard rusher Dustin Shattles, or drop back to provide solid protection for Adkins.
On the defensive side of the ball Alexander could be just as much of a game-changer as he was on offense. Over the course of the season he tallied a team-leading 82 tackles including two sacks and two tackles for losses. He also had a knack for taking the ball away from opposing offenses, proven by his two forced fumbles and one interception. Many times the other team would run away from Alexander’s side of the play but he would still track the ball carrier down with his surprising speed.
Despite all of his amazing accomplishments this season, Southland head coach tim Goodin said that Alexander was probably not even in the position that he is most disruptive at. “His best position is probably on the offensive line. That’s certainly not to say that he isn’t a tremendous fullback and linebacker, that’s just to say how great he is on the offensive line. He started for two and a half years for us at right guard because that’s where we needed him to work when he was younger.”
It is very rare for a player to play nearly every snap of the game on both sides of the ball. It is even more rare for a player to be able to do that while also providing a serious threat to opposing teams on both offense and defense. “It is really tough when you are the guy that is actually carrying the ball to be a two-way player,” said Goodin. “That says a lot for Andrew because he was not coming off the field unless we made him.”
Although Alexander was a force anywhere on the field, Goodin said that a variety of personality traits, not just physical traits, are what contribute to his continuos success in everything he does. “Andrew has a great character and work ethic. He is a great leader and he has a lot of talent. He is everything you could want in a high school football player.”