CHAPMANVILLE — Now that DeShawn Alexander is eligible to play football again at Chapmanville Regional High School, the Tigers are preparing for his return.
Chapmanville (1-1) which plays on Friday night at rival Scott, had initially hoped Alexander would be ready to suit up for the Tigers’ home game with Poca on Sept. 14.
The more likely target date, however, appears to be a week later — Chapmanville’s road game on Sept. 21 at Class AAA county rival Logan.
Alexander, a 6-foot, 189-pound senior running back and strong safety, must complete the WVSSAC mandated 14 practices before he can play in a game.
If all goes to plan, Alexander would finish the practice period on Sept. 18, meaning he would be eligible to play against the Wildcats in two weeks.
Alexander was declared eligible last Thursday after a successful appeal to the WVSSAC.
Alexander transferred to Chapmanville late in the 2011 season from St. Albans and played six games for the 9-4 Tigers, rushing for 391 yards on 44 carries. He scored a 60-yard TD run in the Braxton County playoff game and sparked the Tigers with 125 yards rushing on just 11 totes in a 20-14 win. Alexander also scored on a 30-yard touchdown run in Chapmanville’s 33-13 loss at Point Pleasant last November in the Class AA playoff semifinals.
Chapmanville coach George Barker said it’s good to have Alexander back at practice and in the Orange and Black.
“We’d love to see him ready to go for the Poca game,” he said. “But in reality, it’s probably going to be the Logan game. I think that it is possible to get his numbers in for Poca but more than likely it’s going to be the Logan game that he’ll be eligible.”
With Alexander back, the Tigers will have a trio of weapons in their backfield, along with workhorse running back Dustin Smith and speedy Devin Wiley. Smith rushed for more than 200 yards last week in the Tigers’ 33-19 victory over Herbert Hoover in the home opener at Tiger Stadium.
“We just have to find a way to get them all on the field,” Barker said. “The secret to our success is spreading it around and giving everyone a shot at it. The more that we can spread it out the harder that we are to defend. That’s what we have to do.”
When he suited up for the Tigers last fall, Alexander was believed to be the first African-American to play football for the Chapmanville varsity team.