It was a little little less than a year ago that D.J. Alexander started being recognized as one of the best special teams players in the NFL.
Alexander, who graduated from Palm Desert High School, raced around the edge of the Oakland Raiders’ offensive line, put his two hands up and swatted away a Marquette King punt out of his own end zone for a safety that helped launch the Kansas City Chiefs into the postseason with some momentum.
The rookie who lasted until the fifth round in the 2015 NFL Draft had blocked the Chiefs’ first punt since 2012 and recorded the team’s first special teams points of the season. He was subsequently named the AFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week award for Week 17.
A year later, the second year special teams ace has been nominated for a spot on the AFC’s Pro Bowl squad, the NFL’s version of an all-star team. The 6-foot-2, 233-pounder has forced a pair of fumbles and collected 11 total tackles on the season.
Alexander, 25, is one of 29 special teams players nominated. Fans can go to www.nfl.com/probowl/ballot and vote daily.
The Pro Bowl will take place on Sunday, January 29 in Orlando.
King (Riverside) 70, Palm Springs 43: The Indians fell to 1-1 in the Kiwanis tournament. They play again Wednesday.
La Quinta 69, San Jacinto 49: Pierce Sterling scored 31 and Marcelo Zepeda added 17 as the Blackhawks won their first round game against San Jacinto in the Riverside Kiwanis Tournament. The Blackhawks improved to 3-3 and play Bloomington on Wednesday in round two at Riverside Poly High School.
Girls’ water polo
Xavier Prep 9, Cajon 7: Jillian Barbato scored six goals, and Ariel Forehand, Reina Rover and Blair Burlingame each scored one apiece for the Saints.
Rancho Mirage 1, JW North 0: The Rattlers outshot their opponents, 21-2. Jasmin Sterling made one save and earned the shutout with the defense playing well. Freshman Melanie Ramos-Brizuela scored the first goal of the game in the 19th minute off an assist by Kenya Cordero. Cordero got the second goal on an assist from Bianca Jaimes, and scored the third goal. Fernanda Mercado got goal the fourth, from a Jaidah Martin assist and Melanie Ramos-Brizuela would cap the games scoring with her second of the day.
Valencia 1, Rancho Mirage 0: The Rattlers gave up a goal with 14 minutes left in the game tp fall to 1-3 overall. Jasmin Sterling had five saves in this game. Rancho Mirage plays again on Tuesday 5 p.m. at Woodcrest Christian in Riverside.
Calexico 56, Desert Christian Academy 24: Abby Wagner led the Conquerors with nine points in the loss.
Desert Christian Academy 44, Rancho Mirage 30: Grace Johnson scored 12 points and Kaylee Espinoza chipped in 11 for the Conquerors. DCA (3-2) will play in Brawley tournament Thursday against Yuma (Ariz.) at 3 p.m. followed by Indio at 6 p.m.