CHASING HER DREAM
Feature story on Alexander Doost
Without a heavy presence normally felt in the stands, a loud cheer every time he was set to step out onto the field, Mountain Ridge High School junior offensive lineman Alexander Doost only has the memory of his mother’s encouragement getting him through each game.
“Every game she was at, I heard “get your blocks!” Doost said. “She was very loud.”
Doost’s mother passed away due to health complications in April 2021.
“It was a problem with her heart,” he said. “She always had problems with blood pressure, so she knew it was going to happen.”
Every home game is when he feels the loss the most, but he uses it to propel him forward rather than letting the somberness get the best of him.
“I see it. I see the intense contemplation,” Offensive Line Coach Darren Nill said. “The far-off distance stares pregame before he goes out into the field before he starts his warmup. There is an internal focus that I didn’t see last year, and I can only surmise that he's only thinking of his mother.”
Standing at 6’6” and 290 lbs, Doost showed early signs of growth and seemed set for success from an early age after hitting his growth spurt in the sixth grade. Four Power Five conference schools offered scholarships to the right guard heading into his junior year of high school at Mountain Ridge.
Doost entered his sophomore season starting on the varsity team, making the move from right tackle to right guard his junior season, which cemented his spot as one of the more important pieces on the offensive line. He was quick to make the necessary adjustments to lead his team.
“When you have that size and you have everybody looking at you, you kind of learn how to say things, what to say and when to say it,” Nill said. “You kind of grow up a little quicker.”
Doost was in the gym the day following his mother’s passing with the rest of the team, dedicating the rest of his time to his teammates. With his head down and sights set high on making his mother proud, the right guard led by example and was quickly voted a team captain by his teammates following that spring.
“He’s not just out there just throwing little kids around, being a bully,” Nill said. “The kids all respect him or they would’ve never voted him in.”
“His biggest praise is how small his ego is, despite how big it could be,” junior defensive end Aidan Brogan said. “I’m not going to lie to you, If I was 6 '6” and a DI athlete, I would probably be acting a little differently than him. He’s very mature for his age.”
“I would say pretty much I based a lot of my actions and how I am off of what she would think,” Doost reiterated. “I’m very careful with who I choose to put myself around.”
Brogan has known Doost since he was six years old. Growing up together, he said Doost has never been the most obnoxious person. He never leads with noise, but rather through example.
Just before his mother’s passing, Doost received his first scholarship offer to play football at Arizona State University. While she wasn’t present for the rest of his scholarship offers, her being able to see his future was set gave Doost the closure he needed: He made his mother proud.
“That was like the happiest I’d ever seen her, and then she passed a week later,” Doost said. “So I’m happy I got to make her proud, or smile before it happened.”
His mother’s incessant need to get him up and off of the couch at an early age helped spark his work ethic. Doost grew up an angry kid, so exhausting his energy by playing football became his outlet.
“She wouldn’t want me to sit on my ass, so I try to do a lot when I can,” he said. “She did a lot to prevent (her death). She lost weight and she worked out a lot.”
Doost carries the support of his two older brothers and his father in the stands who get to witness each block he makes and every defensive lineman he pancakes. On the field and in the weightroom, the junior captain has been shown encouragement by the rest of his teammates that they’re willing to take on each game with him.
“I think on the field, everyone is just together with me,” Doost said.
“There’s probably 40 different families here that would jump in, everyone collected a food drive and everything,” Brogan said. “He’s just the kind of kid where -- he just put his hat on and worked.”
Doost’s current scholarship offers include Michigan State, Arizona State, University of Nevada, and the University of Arizona. With his oldest brother studying Law at the Downtown Phoenix campus at Arizona State University, and his middle brother also attending Arizona State for his undergraduate degree, Doost implied he might be leaning towards following in his brother’s footsteps.
“(My mom) had talked about it since I was eight years old,” Doost said.
The right guard recently finished his junior season at Mountain Ridge, ending with an overall record of 8-4, and a playoff berth for the first time in 10 years. Doost is yet to commit to any of the four Power Five schools but is likely to receive more offers entering his senior season. There’s one thing he would like to say to his mother if she were still with him today.
“I’m not done yet.”