Alex Weber has a laser-like focus. When he puts his mind to a goal, he is usually successful.
Be it mixed martial arts or football or good grades or playing college football, Weber has a long-list of accomplishments.
The Chiawana High senior’s next goal is to shut down Wenatchee running back Isaiah Brandt-Sims in today’s Class 4A quarterfinal at 1 p.m.
Based on all of his other successes, this immediate goal seems likely.
“He has an extreme work ethic,” said Alex’s dad James Weber. “He is doing something all the time toward his goal. He builds schedules for the week and then that is what he does. He is just driven.”
For example, Weber decided he wanted to improve his academic standing and attract potential colleges based on already having his Associate’s Degree.
So he went to summer school the last two years and is doing so well that Ivy League schools have been pursuing him, including Penn, Harvard and Cornell.
“I know I’m not the most physically gifted guy like those guys down in Florida,” he said. “But I’ve been working hard, academically as well. Really pushing hard and I’m looking forward to going to college.”
It’s not like he is a slouch on the football field, though.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker and fullback has received offers from the University of California-Berkley, Wyoming, Air Force and the aforementioned Ivy League schools.
He was named to the Mid-Columbia all-league first team for defense, was a preseason all-state defender on Tacoma’s News Tribune team and is likely to be all-state when this season is done.
“He is one of those guys that you have to kill him to stop him,” Chiawana coach Steve Graff said. “He has a good motor and he is one of our best players.
“It is a lot of hardwork, a lot of time spent in the weight room training and trying to make himself faster.”
One of the ways Weber has improved himself is by participating in MMA, taking yoga classes and working with a resistance-band trainer.
“Not only does it help with physical toughness, but it helps with mental toughness too,” Weber said of the mixed martial arts. “You get real tired and you get beat up — regardless if you are good or not, you are going to get beat up one time or another.”
Weber has also been thrust into a leadership role for the Riverhawks, something that happened last year on a young team.
“He was a pretty good leader last year on a team that didn’t have any seniors,” Graff said. “He has really stepped into that leadership role.”
And Weber will have a lot of leading to do with the defense today.
The Riverhawks face a Wenatchee team that they dominated earlier this season in a 48-7 victory, holding Brandt-Sims — who has a full-ride to Stanford — to a season-low 35 rushing yards.
“I have a lot of respect for him,” Weber said. “I personally have a goal to stop his rushing yards like last time, but that is a team effort.
“We know they are angry. They are a really good team and it is going to be difficult to overcome, especially at their house.”
If Weber makes beating Wenatchee his focus, though, it is likely he and his teammates will be able to overcome whatever the Panthers throw at them and advance to the semifinals.