ANDERSON — Losing by more than 60 points to end your season is a tough way to bow out of the first round of sectionals, but Alexandria football coach Pete Gast took the beat-down in stride.
Two seasons in a row, the Tigers were taken down by one of the best in their sectional — the team lost 51-10 in 2011 to Guerin Catholic before the defeat by Heritage Christian this past fall — but Gast said a team that was once young and inexperienced has grown into a tough competitor this offseason.
Last season, his squad had just three seniors to lead a team that finished 3-7, but this year, Gast has eight seniors — seven of which who have played all three years previously — to go along with 18 juniors, and with more age and experience, Gast hopes success will come also.
“Being a senior by age alone doesn’t help a kid that’s only played one or two years and for whatever reason didn’t play all four years,” he said. “He’s behind and hasn’t fully developed in your program. These are kids who when I got to Alexandria were eighth graders, so they’ve been through our program all four years of their high school career.”
Gast said he and his coaching staff spent several hours rewatching every single game tape this offseason, even the game against Heritage Christian, which Gast said he watched twice but struggled to find positives in.
But in the times his team had success last season, Gast came to a simple conclusion.
“It’s just about us,” he said. “If we do things right, if we take care of our own business, it doesn’t matter who we’re going to play. We’re going to be successful if we take care of proving ourselves.”
And this offseason, Gast’s team identity became one of depth and competition.