Family affair for Warriors

BROOKFIELD — For Brookfield senior running back Alex Clark, the football team is a family affair.

For the past four years, his dad, Randy, has coached him. For the elder Clark, he has coached older son Joey, and now Alex, for the past eight years.

Despite coaching his son, Randy says that he treats Alex like any other player. But for Alex, being the coach’s son does come with its advantages.

“Well, that’s been something nobody else really experiences,” Alex said. “It’s been a good thing and a bad thing at the same time, but it’s a pretty good thing and I like it.

“(It’s a) good thing to have, (because I) ask him a lot of questions and you don’t forget nothing. (Plus), he’s there to tell you when to be (at practice and weightlifting) and you don’t really got to remember nothing.”

While it’s easy for Alex to laugh off, the truth is, he’s a pretty smart kid. The 3.67 GPA student who scored well into the 20’s on his high school ACT test, is an aspiring pharmacist who’s garnering football recruiting interest from Baldwin-Wallace, Malone and Walsh.

Although it appears that a big office or corporate job appears to be in front of him, Alex is still all football, all the time. In fact, while Randy jokes that he and Alex don’t bring football home with them, it still doesn’t stop Alex from constantly discussing the topic in his free time.

“I have no idea,” Alex said for his fascination with football. “It’s just something about it that I like. I haven’t found out why I like it, but I like it.”

Clark will return for his third year as Brookfield’s starting running back, after rushing for over 1,100 yards as a junior. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound runner will take on an even bigger role in 2017, as starting quarterback Xavier Bailey, a dual-threat runner, graduated.

With yet another new quarterback behind center, an even greater emphasis will be placed on Clark and backfield mate Tyler Briggs. And while Clark was known as the team’s power back the past couple of seasons, 2017 will see a new and improved Clark.

“His speed has really picked up,” Randy said. “Last year, Xavier was the one who could tote the rock and go 80 yards any time he touches it, and Alex was the (short yardage) guy.

“I think this year is gonna be a big difference, I think (Alex) can take it to the house. He’s a lot stronger and I think he’s gonna be the gamebreaker along with the other ones.”

Clark’s speed will be a much-needed necessity for the 2017 Warriors, as a return trip to the postseason for the first time since 2015 is an uncertainty at this point. Other than a quarterback battle, Brookfield will also face one of its toughest schedules ever, especially through the first five weeks.

Despite this, Alex is hopeful that 2017 turns out better than 2016, in which the team narrowly missed the postseason with a 7-3 record.

“I hope we experience a lot of winning this year and I hope we get to the playoffs — I’ve only been there once,” Clark said. “That was the most fun I’ve had so far (in my high school career).”