When Samuel Alexander calls River Oaks home, it’s more than a figure of speech. A 17-year-old senior, Alexander is beginning his 15th year at the school on Finks Hideaway Road.
Alexander is the only football player among the five students who have attended River Oaks from Pre-Kindergarten 3 all the way through.
On the football field, Alexander’s ties to the Mustangs are firmly entrenched in family history. Both of his brothers, Brent Charles and Jack Alexander played at River Oaks and a cousin, Vincent Moore, played briefly at Louisiana Tech.
“Samuel’s whole family has been here forever,” said Robert Hannah, the Mustangs’ longtime coach. “His grandfather (V.J. Casamento) never misses anything at the school.”
Alexander first joined the Mustangs as a water boy when his oldest brother was on the team. Brent Charles Alexander will soon start dental school at LSU in New Orleans. Now 6-0, 245 pounds, Sam Alexander worked his way up through the junior high ranks and into the starting varsity lineup.
“We won district all three years in junior high,” Alexander said. “Those were some fun times.”
Since moving up to varsity as a freshman, Alexander has been a fixture in the starting lineup, collecting first-team All-District honors all three years.
Alexander, understandably, has mixed emotions going into his senior year.
“It’s exciting to know I’ll be going off to college, but River Oaks is all I know,” Alexander said. “I’ve been here for so long. Knowing this will be my last year is a very sad feeling as well.”
Alexander will miss being part of the close-knit student body at River Oaks.
“What I am going to miss the most is the family atmosphere we have,” Alexander said. “Everybody knows everybody, and everybody is so close.”
A 4.0 student, Alexander is well-prepared for life after River Oaks.
“River Oaks provides a very good education,” Alexander said. “The teachers and administration are outstanding. They can and will help you with anything you need.”
Alexander plans to attend Louisiana Tech or LSU and major in business. Eventually, he plans to succeed his parents, Brent and Wendy Alexander, in running ServiceMaster, the family’s janitorial company.
For now, Alexander is looking forward to his final year of high school.
“First of all, my goal is to keep my grades up,” Alexander said. “My goal for football is to leave everything on the field. When it’s over, I don’t want to have any regrets about what I did.”
Working diligently to prepare for the upcoming season, Alexander exceeded the Mustangs’ required 18 summer workouts.
“I have to play both ways and on special teams, plus I’m the punter,” Alexander said.
With only 18 players listed on the roster, Iron Man football is going to be a reality for the Mustangs.
“I think everybody is starting to understand how important it is for us to be in the best condition we possibly can,” Alexander said. “Everybody is going to have to be in shape and playing both ways.”
Alexander is also a catcher/first baseman for the Mustangs’ baseball team, but football — particularly defense — is his favorite.
“You can be aggressive and mean in football,” the 6-0, 245-pound Alexander said. “In baseball, you can’t really do much. You can have a mean streak in football.”
Hannah is counting on another big season from Alexander on both sides of the line.
“Samuel brings a lot of strength and quickness to the table,” Hannah said. “He has been a good player for us for the last three years, and we are counting on him again this year. In fact, we are going to need all of our seniors to step up.
“Samuel’s an outstanding ballplayer with a good head on his shoulders.”
And a heart that bleeds silver and blue.