SMSU FOOTBALL: Homegrown: Marshall native Alex Werner anchoring the Mustangs defense in his senior season

Independent file photo SMSU’s Alex Werner (97) looks to tackle an Augustana opponent during a Nov. 2016 game.

MARSHALL – Alex Werner is a 2013 graduate from Marshall High School. He was a three year letter winner for the Tigers football team where he played on the defensive line and offensive line. He was a member of three conference championship teams and earned all-area and all-conference honors during his time as a Tiger.

When Werner was being recruited he said it became apparent that he was going to wind up playing in the NSIC. What better place to play than in front of family and friends?

“It just made sense for me,” Werner said. “It was evident during the recruiting process that I was going to end up playing in the NSIC somewhere. The whole package that SMSU offered as a school, and as a football team, it just made sense for me to stay here.”

Now Werner is currently a senior at Southwest Minnesota State University, where he is one of three returning starting defensive lineman from last year’s team.

As a freshman, Werner started four games and appeared in all 11 games for the Mustangs. That year he finished with 24 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.

In 2015, Werner recorded 1.5 sacks, 16 tackles and four tackles for loss. Last year Werner finished with 18 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and a career-high two sacks.

“It’s been great,” Werner said. “I really wouldn’t want to have been apart of any other football team. We’ve had some great wins. I don’t think there are many teams with the sense of brotherhood and togetherness like we have on our team.”

Werner has been a force up front for the Mustangs this year. Through three games Werner has already set a new career-high in sacks with 2.5. The senior lineman has also recorded 15 tackles and four tackles for loss.

The Mustangs suffered a disappointing season-opening loss at home to Saint Cloud State University, 41-26. The Mustangs were outscored 24-0 by the Huskies in the second half. Since that loss the Mustangs have bounced back with wins against MSU Moorhead and Minot State.

Werner said that sense of family among the team helped them bounce back after the gut-wrenching season-opening loss.

“That absolutely helped,” Werner said. “That was a tough loss. We just looked back on ourselves. We know who we are as a team and what kind of team we want to be. We really just looked back on ourselves and are worrying about ourselves every week. If we stick to our plan and play hard nosed, fast paced football that we will win games.”

In 2015 the Mustangs finished with an 8-3 record. Last year they finished with a 5-6 record. This year Werner and the Mustangs are looking to get back to form.

“The goal is to get to postseason play,” Werner said. “We want to be atop of the conference.”

Werner has eight regular season games left of his collegiate football career. When all is said and done Werner said he’ll miss being apart of the Mustang family.

“There will be a lot of things that I miss,” Werner said. “The sense of brotherhood we have on the team and the atmosphere that the whole team carries is just something that can be replicated. I’ll miss the competition too, but I think being apart of that 110 guys with one common goal is something I’ll miss.”