Logan Neal does everything asked of him as a team leader.
On an Alexander team that currently sits at 0-3 on the season, not too much has gone the Spartans’ way, but as the team leader, Neal can’t let that lower his morale or that of the rest of the team.
Neal is making sure the Spartans are not dwelling on the mistakes made in the first three weeks and is trying to keep their minds focused on the next task at hand.
“We just have to keep on trucking every week,” Neal said. “A lot of shortcomings come along in a season, and we have to make sure that we keep fighting.”
Keeping his teammates’ spirits high may seem like a tough task to ask of a high school senior, but Neal feels more than up to the task.
Neal isn’t the only one who thinks he was made for a leadership role, either.
The Spartans are young this season, graduating 13 seniors from the 2019 season, including many starters from the defense and most of the starters on offense. Not only did coach Earich Dean have to figure out who could replace those holes on the field, but he also needed someone to be able to replace what his seniors did off the field for the team.
One of the first players Dean looked to step up this season was Neal.
“We’re leaning on him this season,” Dean said. “He’s a great teacher because we have seven or eight new starters on the defensive side of the ball that he’s got to help put in position and transfer plays from sideline to the field.”
Neal knows how important his role as a teacher on the Spartans is, but he thinks it goes beyond helping them figure out which plays the team is running or what spot they’re supposed to be in on the field.
He’s trying to help the younger players bring out their competitive nature and that fiery mentality to the game. He knows he can do it because the past leaders did the same thing with him when he was first getting playing time. Now that he is in their shoes, he knows what to look for.
“We lost a lot of dogs last year on both sides of the ball,” Neal said. “With the younger guys, we just got to bring out the dog in them.”
Neal’s leadership isn’t a “Do as I say, not as I do” type of relationship, either. He makes sure to lead by example, on both sides of the field.
On offense, Neal has carried the workload as the lead tailback. Alexander may not have much of an offensive identity right now, but the one thing that has been consistent in the first three games of the season is the Spartans will look to pound the ball with Neal and quarterback Xander Karagosian leading the way.
As a defensive lineman, his ability to get pressure on the quarterback is the key to Alexander’s defense being successful. In the season opener against Athens, Dean started to increase how much he blitzed Joey Moore in the second half, and that increased pressure, led by Neal, saw the high-powered Bulldog offense be held scoreless in the final two quarters.
Producing on both sides of the ball at a high level, Neal and his mindset don’t change.
“I try to bring the competitive nature every single snap,” Neal said. “I want to give us the momentum in the game, whether that be a long run, a big hit in the backfield or a sack.”
Neal has become Alexander’s do-it-all guy this season, and that role has come with a lot of pressure, but he knew this is a role he was made for.