At 6’2” and 250 pounds, PA Immortalz QB Alsaiah Gross,has brought an impressive physical presence to the A7FL since he joined the league in 2014. Combine his frame with a legitimate cannon for an arm and surprising elusiveness, it’s not too hard to see why Woog is considered an A7FL legend.
Gross gained some serious attention with a dazzling behind the back pass for a 2-point conversion in the 2019 Championship against longtime rival NJ Paterson U. “I saw a guy try it a few years back and thought it looked pretty cool,” says Gross, “From there, I started practicing and trying to perfect it until I was comfortable enough to work into my game. The nice one-handed grab from my guy Edwin Diaz-Rivera really brought it all together.”
But his A7FL journey hasn’t been all glamour—it’s had its share of heartbreak. Some tough calls, freak plays, and just plain bad luck always seemed to be forces working against the Immortalz, especially in key moments. For the first time in his football career, Gross could not call himself a clutch performer. “There’s a couple turnovers and play calls that I’d love to have back,” Gross says, “We should have 3 championships, honestly, we have some great players. Anytime where I’m in a position to win a game for my guys I should be able to perform like I know I’m capable of, so I have to take full responsibility when we don’t reach the promised land.”
Woog doesn’t shy away from his past—he embraces difficulty and learning from his mistakes, which is the exact mentality that you look for in a leader. “I’m not tripping, the past happened,” says Gross, “I think even my toughest experiences have made me into the player I am today.” Gross definitively got the monkey off his back for good last season when he led the Immortalz to their first championship with a 4 touchdown performance, putting to rest the thought that he couldn’t perform on the big stage.
Off the field, Gross lives a busy life working lots of overtime at his job in the healthcare field. He spends as much time as he possibly can with his three kids and is ecstatically expecting one more on the way. “I didn’t happen to have a big father influence in my life,” says Gross, “So I love that I’m able to be around my kids while they are growing up right in front of my eyes. I make sure I’m at every one of my son’s football games.”
The nickname Woog came from spending summers with his family in South Carolina when he was young. “My great grandmother called me Woogie and the name stuck,” he said. “As I got older, I chopped the end off.”
Recently, Woog tested positive for COVID-19. While only suffering from mild symptoms, he still was forced to isolate himself from his family, to ensure they were not infected. “It wasn’t easy quarantining from my kids and pregnant wife,” says Gross, “But holding my daughter for the first time after 20 days was a great feeling and made me appreciate everyone around me.”
Now that he’s recovered, Gross is looking forward to the time when the league can start playing again – and the sooner the better. After 2019, he has the film to prove he’s a great A7FL player. “He’s got the “it” factor,” according to A7FL President Ryan DePaul. “He’s so focused and poised and that’s what makes him an amazing competitor.” Anyone that gets to him, soon discovers that – beyond the personal achievements – Woog is an even greater teammate, leader and father.
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