Failure is not an option
Often undersized and outnumbered, the Oklahoma Christian School Saints are determined to persevere in the Class 3A playoffs.
On most plays, Nate Brooks either gets pushed around or a pat on the back.
Standing at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, Brooks doesn’t look like your typical nose tackle for a Class 3A football contender.
But he, as well as several other members of Oklahoma Christian School’s football team, see it different.
They fill a role regardless of size or the possibility of failure. Brooks doesn’t always come away with the highlight sack or a bone-crushing tackle on a running back, but he makes a difference
“I don’t always get tackles, but I’m there to mess things up for the offense,” Brooks says of his playing style. “At the end of this day, I just remember that I don’t play this for me. I play for the guys around me and for my school.”
As the level of competition and intensity is ratcheted up this week for round 2 of the Oklahoma high school football playoffs, OCS coach Derek Turner said he likes to take a minute to remind his guys how far they’ve come.
Being a private school, Turner says they work with a smaller roster than a lot of the other schools in Class 3A. While some have nearly 50 kids on their team not including freshmen, OCS currently has a little more than 40 players, including freshmen.
Because of those limitations, Turner said he and his coaching staff have managed to figure out who they can plug and play.
“The kids have bought into the fact that they have to be very good precision-wise to maybe make up for being smaller or playing out of position,” Turner said. “They need to execute a lot things and play a lot of different positions because we don’t have the luxury of extra big guys.”
The results are hard to argue with.
Led by a senior class of 14 players, OCS won District 3A-1 after a 8-2 regular season. The Saints followed that up with a dominating first round victory against Little Axe, winning 66-8.
Turner can point out about a dozen guys on his team who wouldn't be considered the prototypical build for the position they play. But then he follows that up with why they are perfect to play the position they do.
“A lot of this is about not being afraid to fail,” Turner said. “These guys took a chance and trusted us when we told them where we wanted to play them. Some kids wouldn't have handled it well, but our guys really took it and ran with it.”
Sean McBride is another starter who's learned to hold his own against bigger competition. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 190, McBride has become a staple on the OCS offensive line and was named a team captain by his teammates.
“I feel teeny compared to some of the massive guys I go up against,” McBride said. “But I have good technique, and a lot of it is intensity. We show up and give it all every time.
“Knowing this could be our last game together, that raises your intensity even more.”