Starting Sophomores in the Spotlight


Tyree Alualu and Khyrin Boyd , starting sophomores on North Allegheny Varsity Football. @rey_alu2 on instagram

Isy George and Corrin Johnson

A look into North Allegheny football, specifically two starting varsity sophomores, is key to recapping and understanding the structure of the NA football program. One that has long been a source of pride and unity among the school and district as a whole. Two particular beacons of pride in the North Allegheny football program are Tyree Alualu and Khyrin Boyd, two starting varsity players for the 21-22 season. As a starting inside linebacker and wide receiver respectively.

Boyd in action at the 2021 Homecoming game
by Randy Gore

Of all those going out for football, one may wonder what made these two underclassmen stand out enough to make varsity and more importantly to start. 

Alualu has had a consistently good season and has shown great promise for the future.

Boyd started as a wide receiver in the first varsity game and did very well, but injured his shoulder, recovered in a couple of weeks, and returned for a fantastic season. 

Defensive co-ordinator Doug Brinkley believes in both Alualu and Boyd’s potential. He says they both had very good camps, and have proven that they can be a fantastic part of what is done at the varsity level.

They were also seen as highly capable of dealing with adversity and have shown to be both mentally and physically ready to start. 

With this much confidence in these new players now, the question remains if they are seen as capable of keeping up the same energy of this season and also in the future. 

Brinkley says that each of the players knows that they have done very well and that the staff have very high hopes for the two that have started this year, as well as for the other sophomores in regards to having the opportunity to earn playing time each week.

Alualu and Boyd have been doing very well, and have brought upon themselves raised expectations for the coming seasons.  When asked Alualu states, “the expectations are high on us especially both Khi and I coming from football families and that brings even more expectations.”

Both players have been proving themselves as worthy of their starting jobs since long before the season. They have been working hard and showing their skill since voluntary workouts in July, where the staff starts looking at how well each of the players adapts to a varsity level.

Alualu in action.    @rey_alux2 on Instagram

The staff after observing players’ varsity potential move to viewing their performance in camp beginning in the middle of August, which is also considered the official start of the season. 

The staff together, and coaches individually look at specific players they feel can handle the pressures of a heightened level of expectations with varsity football.

They keep keen observation at all practices and games as to who is doing well and as to who can be the best asset to the team at any given time. The lineup occasionally changes to reflect this. 

Alualu and Boyd have been giving it their all, all season. With being younger and newer members of the team, and with being fresh starters there is a lot riding on these sophomores.

Alualu said that he personally loves the heightened expectations and that it gives him the drive to be better than what people think he is capable of. He is thankful to his Coaches for having the confidence in him to start him at this level.

Since they are sophomores as well, from a personal standpoint, teaching trade and traditions to under vs upperclassmen would be different simply due to age and experience.  

Brinkley mentions the resilience of the team who are all fairly new and inexperienced, in terms of how they deal with the ups and downs of the season. And the general process of the team, and behaviors and such for home and away games.

The homecoming game was a highlight in the season and a peak of how the team deals with all things. The sophomores although new have learned and performed well throughout the season.

Boyd at the 2021 Homecoming game vs. Norwin High @k.loadinn on Instagram

The interview with Brinkley was taken shortly before  Baldwin which was an away game. At which time Brinkley’s previous statement on team guidelines kicks in, with everything from getting on the bus, to walking through to the other field.

The difference in the atmosphere and etiquette and all such things involving the team at a high school or varsity level, is one that they have to learn so that all things a part of NA football are successful. 

Reiterated with this statement from Alualu “Coach Walker says we are brothers and sister we will always be there for each other through thick and thin. Coach Walker and Brinkley are always preaching that five-star culture and part of that five-star culture is being there for your family .”

Boyd also agreed , that it is not only etiquette and behaviour as a whole team outward but also with being there for each other as family. 

Alualu and Boyd, as well as the rest of the team, train not only physically but also mentally to try their best to put in the work and effort to be there for each other as teammates on and off the field.

When asked what about these two starters not only as players but people stood out to the coaches, they were said to have proven to be able to work well and earn the respect of the upperclassmen and the whole coaching staff.

Boyd said that “It feels good being an underclassman on varsity very happy at the place I am now. The football environment this year is great! Everyone on the team gets along well and I love playing with my brothers and sister.”

That five star culture on display with Jacob Porter and Alualu
@rey_alux2 on Instagram

The two of them are very good athletes that have worked very hard to do well with the juniors and the seniors.

They are explosive. They’re fast. They provide some very good energy and a very spirited aspect to the team.

As a whole this year, has been a fairly new experience with many new starters and the way in which these sophomores and everyone else have had to learn how, as a group, to deal with things.

Which has been a key point to the season. 

An example is the away game at Pickerington Central, which did not go very well.

Which forced the players to learn, individually and as a  group, how to deal with it.

And then to be able to turn around and be tough and to work through hard games, and pull off (a) win after such loses. 

It is different for everybody, every single week and it is observed how they deal with changes and how they adapt within the whole team. Especially after a very tough away game, responding well is crucial and Alualu and Boyd have been especially good about that. 

What makes NA football so special is the dedicated staff and players, who give their all, on and off the field. Those who put in work and time and effort to make this school’s football program, as good and well renowned as it is. 

In addition, Alualu would also like to thank players such as Dom O, Barto, Will Sheridan, the whole senior class for having taken him under their wing and having taught him so much about the game.

All in all, it has been a great Tiger football season, and all of North Allegheny is  glad to have seen this new team thrive and learn. Overall hopes and expectations are high for all and, especially, eyes are on these sophomores to see what’s next.NA Football T4L (@nafootball_tfl) / Twitter