Pair of McLouth seniors to play football at GCCC
McLouth Since they were in seventh grade, McLouth seniors Alex Courtney and Alen Kramer have shared the football field. Thursday in the MHS auditorium, the pair of Bulldogs guaranteed that trend would continue.
In front of family, friends, coaches and teammates, Courtney and Kramer signed national letters of intent to continue their football careers at Garden City Community College.
"It's pretty sweet," Courtney said. "We were sort of the team captains together when we played here, and we'll be roommates together when we go down there. It's nice to know somebody."
Courtney saw time at linebacker and running back, and will join the Broncbusters' linebacking corp. Kramer played offensive and defensive line for the Bulldogs, but his position at GCCC is still undetermined.
During their time in purple and gold, playing time was hardly an issue for either player. Both started as freshmen and wrapped up their careers as team captains.
McLouth struggled during their first three seasons, going a combined 6-21, but things took a turn for the better last fall. The Bulldogs went 7-2 in 2011, including a 6-0 mark against Delaware Valley League opponents.
Both earned All-DVL first-team honors following the season — Kramer at offensive guard and defensive tackle, and Courtney at linebacker.
"We started out playing as freshmen, but by the time we got to our senior year, we were pretty experienced and had a really good season," Courtney said. "It really taught me how to play here and we learned how to win."
As they near the end of their final semester, Courtney and Kramer continue to prove themselves as leaders in the classroom as well. Both were included on the school's honor roll in January.
"These two guys are at the top of their class as far as leadership and character," Bulldog head coach Chris Stewart said. "They're the kind of kids that, as a parent, you'd want to have. They work hard and they take things seriously."
The trip to Garden City will serve as an impromptu reunion, as former MHS assistant Jason Stithem is currently the GCCC running backs coach. Stithem served as the Bulldogs' offensive and defensive line coach from 2008-10.
"That was a big factor, actually knowing a coach before going down there," Kramer said.
Stithem joined the Broncbuster staff last fall under first-year head coach Jeff Tatum. GCCC went 2-7 in Tatum's initial season.
In addition to familiarity with the coaching staff, Kramer said he and Courtney found Garden City's size and amenities appealing.
"A lot of other community colleges small towns, but I like having everything out there," he said. "You don't have to drive to go to Wal-Mart or anything out there."
Stewart, who took over the McLouth program when Courtney and Kramer were freshmen, admitted the duo will likely need some time to adjust to the demands of college football. Rest assured, though, he believes they'll pass the test with flying colors.
"The competition to play is going to be so much greater," Stewart said. "Number two is just the work and the commitment to football. They're going to experience doing things all day long with the coaches and the players.
"I think they'll do a very good job. That's just the kind of character they have."