Teamwork and toughness are two of the linchpins the Mountain View Wildcats program has subscribed to since head coach Lou Sorrentino was hired at the school in 2010.
Perhaps no one on the current roster embodies those attributes as much as senior offensive tackle/defensive end Alex Kemp, whom Sorrentino describes as a “great leader.”
Kemp’s leadership capabilities, as well as his strong relationship with Sorrentino, strongly materialized in 2017 when, as a sophomore, Kemp began to realize the amount of passion he had for the game.
“I think I began to realize [the extent football would affect his future] in 10th grade,” Kemp recalled. “When I started playing on varsity and began putting my heart and soul into the game, that’s when I knew I wanted to continue on in football. I told Coach Sorrentino I wanted to play in college and started to build a relationship with him so he could help make me better.”
After developing his leadership and football skills the past two years, Kemp wants to leverage both this season to help the Wildcats achieve their team goals, but also to achieve his dream of playing college football.
Thus far he has made one visit—to Concord University in West Virginia—which resulted in an offer. But Kemp hasn’t committed yet. He said he is still looking into schools at both the Division 2 and Division 1 levels. He said he expects his decision when it is finally made to come down to a combination of academics and football. While he is undecided, Kemp said he has an interest in biology and chiropractic medicine, so he believes his decision will involve the strength of programs a prospective school has in those areas.
“Wherever I think there’s a good fit for the next four or more years academically, as well as where I think I can see myself playing football, that’s what the decision will come down to,” Kemp said. “But I also want my parents [Franklin and Jessica Kemp] to be part of that process as well. It’s important to me that they have a say in where I eventually go.”
Kemp’s leadership is epitomized by his work in the weight room since arriving at Mountain View. He estimates he’s missed “maybe two or three days due to illness or doctor’s appointments” of conditioning work during his four years at Mountain View.
Being an example to his teammates is something Kemp takes seriously.
“I want to be someone people can come to on the team and know I will listen to them and help them get better,” Kemp said. “I’ve always said, ‘It’s not about me; it’s about the team.’ We’re brothers and I have to do whatever it takes to put us in the best position to win.”
Despite not getting the accolades a skill position player on offense might receive, Kemp said he’s content with his role on the team.
“When I look at the quarterbacks and running backs, I always think, ‘If they are successful, I’m happy because that means I did my job.’ If we have 500 yards rushing in a game, that puts a smile on my face,” Kemp said.
In many ways, Kemp’s on-field play and off-field demeanor reflect his football idols, Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns, and Los Angeles Rams’ offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth.
“Even though [Mayfield] is a quarterback and not a lineman, I like the way he succeeds in spite of what others say about him,” Kemp said. “He’s always calm, cool, and collected. He’s said he sees himself as dangerous and I like that. As far as Whitworth, he’s just a great guy on and off the field and I like that about him.”
Working hard, bonding with teammates, showing strength in the face of adversity—these are all qualities that contribute to the stature Kemp has attained from both teammates and coaches, who view him as an invaluable team leader. This became very apparent at a critical time last season.
Mountain View began the season undefeated at 5-0 before a bye week, then suffered what Kemp called a “heartbreaking, gut-wrenching” loss to Brooke Point. However, the loss proved beneficial in one sense.
“When you lose a game like that, it causes you to pull together as a team. You become closer and become like a band of brothers. It puts things into perspective because you realize every play could be your last and that’s the way Coach Sorrentino wants us to play every game. It makes us hungrier.”