TULSA — Setting a record — any record — for success at a football program like Tulsa Union is a special feat.
Linebacker Blace Walser set three pretty impressive ones.
He concluded his four-year career as the school record holder for tackles in a game (21), season (164) and career (477). And his senior season performance as the foundation of the Redskin defense earned him a spot on The Oklahoman's All-State team.
But for all the things he accomplished in his career, individually and with his team, Walser's most enjoyable memory occurred in one of the first varsity games he ever played in.
“The memory that stands out the most is winning that fourth state championship, but my favorite memory is playing in the Backyard Bowl against Jenks as a freshman,” he said. “I got to play several games as a freshman, which was incredible for me. That helped build me and mold me to be able to accomplish what I did over the rest of my career.”
After losing a district game for the first time since most of their players were in elementary school, Union went through a period of being doubted. But in the end, the Redskins hoisted the gold ball for a fourth straight time — and that doubt was turned to fuel for the players.
“I like that kind of stuff,” Walser said. “I like being doubted and proving people wrong. I felt like our team loved it as well, and it made it that much more fun.”
Walser's numbers are impressive, but he knows there's one number that scares big colleges away — his height of 5-foot-10.
“I'm looking for a Division II or Division I-AA schools,” he said. “That's probably my best bet. My height has a lot to do with it. I wouldn't say I'm undersized for a high school linebacker, but for big-time Division I, I'm definitely a few inches too short, I would say.”
Walser is very appreciative of the opportunity he had at Union, and the program he got to be a part of.
“This program takes average players and helps them do above-average things,” he said. “We have a lot of program players who might not be as athletic. But going through summer workouts and getting all the coaching and all the sudden, it's like, wow, look at that player. They didn't start that way, they were molded and built through our program.
“I was there for the first gold ball of the streak all the way to now, and I've learned many lessons I'll use for the rest of my life.”