High School Sports

‘Natural leader’ Alex Cooper finds role he was born for with Atascadero football team

Atascadero's Alex Cooper talks about being the coach's son and preparing for the 2017 season

Atascadero High senior Alex Cooper, son of head coach Vic Cooper, has been surrounded by football his whole life and he's ready to be a leader this season for Greyhounds football.
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Atascadero High senior Alex Cooper, son of head coach Vic Cooper, has been surrounded by football his whole life and he's ready to be a leader this season for Greyhounds football.

The coaching never stops for Alex Cooper.

After every game, the offensive linemen on the Atascadero High School football team heads home with his family. It isn’t long before his dad, Vic Cooper, who happens to be the head coach, puts on video of the contest that just ended. His mom, Heidi, is quick to chime in.

“You know, I think you could have beat that guy better. How come you let one sack this game? She talks like she is the coach,” Alex said. “She knows a lot more than most moms out there.”

During practice, Alex Cooper is often the target of his quick-witted dad. He takes it all in stride.

“When we get home after practice, he’s like, ‘Hey, you know I love you right?’ ” Alex Cooper said. “ ‘I am going to pick on you because I want you to be the best on the team.’ Every father wants their kids to be the best.”

It’s this type of around-the-clock teaching that has prepared the 6-foot-3, 250-pound senior to step into his role as a captain this season.

“It has been easy,” said Alex Cooper, who is also class president and president of his 4-H club. “I have kind of been a natural leader my whole life, raised by a coach, two teachers as parents.”

This season, he will lead an offensive line that is expected to be the cornerstone of the team. He is one of three players, including Blake Rose and Doug Dengate, that will clear the way for a pair of talented running backs in Kobe Cross and Arik Machado.

Cooper, along with Rose, will also play defense for the first time this season. They’re out to remind people what Greyhound football is all about.

“If you have been raised in Atascadero, whether you play water polo or play football, you know. Atascadero football is come at you hard, hit you hard, knock you on your ass, help you up,” Alex Cooper said. “Honestly, I think we are going to be able to control some people on the line of scrimmage, both offensively and defensively.”

If they don’t, you can bet he’ll hear about it when he gets home.

The Tribune 2017 prep football preview

Over the coming days, The Tribune will roll out its 2017 high school football preview looking at teams, top players and story lines from San Luis Obispo County schools leading to the opening of the season Friday. Find new daily content online at sanluisobispo.com/sports and in the Sports section.

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