Alexander has been looking for its offense to play a complete game all season.
Every game this season, the Spartans would show flashes of great play that inspired more confidence in the offense to have a strong showing, but it had not come together this season.
That is, until Friday.
Alexander (2-6, 1-4 Tri-Valley Conference-Ohio) travelled to Chillicothe and came away with a 34-22 victory over Southeastern (1-7, 1-5 Scioto Valley Conference) thanks to the best offensive performance for the Spartans this season.
The tempo for the offense was set early on, as Xander Karagosian found his receiver Michael Lash downfield for a 70-yard touchdown to make it an early 9-0 lead for the Spartans. The quarterback and receiver duo would connect on another touchdown pass later in the game, that one a 33-yard dime to tie it at 22 before halftime.
Most of Karagosian’s production this year has come based solely on what he can do on the ground, so to see him hit on so many big passes downfield made coach Earich Dean feel like his work with him has been paying off.
“We’ve been going to a lot of those passes all year, but it just seems like we either missed a blocking assignment or we’ve underthrew it or we dropped a pass,” Dean said. “Today was one of those days where even if it was a bad pass, we were catching it.”
The offense was moving early on, but the Spartans still found themselves in a close contest for most of the game. They had trouble breaking away, but any time Alexander found itself stuck and needed a spark, the offense would be able to provide it.
Take for example when the Spartans were pinned at their own 10-yard-line, down 14-9 early in the second quarter. They were in desperate need of a momentum swing as Southeastern had been building things in its favor.
During the first play of the possession, Karagosian hands the ball off to Jagger Cain, who broke past the the defensive line and sped by the defenders in the second level to take it 90 yards and gave Alexander the lead.
Cain found himself making impressive plays all game, as he also broke the 22-22 tie late in the third quarter with a 38-yard shovel pass touchdown from Karagosian. There were multiple times in his run where he should’ve been tackled, but he broke out his jukes and a spin move to evade defenders and break free for the score.
The moment Cain had was not lost on him at all.
“I’m not gonna lie, that’s probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done,” Cain said.
For Alexander, the usual game story was flipped for them early on, as the defense found itself struggling to stop Southeastern’s big plays in the first half. But, once the third quarter started, the defense made the necessary adjustments and held the Panthers scoreless in the second half.
A big part of the defense’s improved play was Lash, who grabbed two interceptions, bringing his total to a TVC-Ohio-leading five picks on the season.
The defensive back always feels like his plays on the ball just come from him playing within the defense well.
“I just sit back there and read the ball,” Lash said. “But when it comes my way, I go and get it.”
Lash contributed two of the four turnovers forced by Alexander in the second half that helped stifle any offensive momentum for Southeastern.
With this possibly being the final game of the season, seeing the team excel like this definitely gives Dean excitement for what they can do in 2021.
“This is all building confidence,” Dean said. “They’re a young team, so everything they do that’s positive, that’s just icing on the cake.”