BETHANY — Steven Stallings is built more like a sprinter than a Class 6A quarterback.
Six feet tall, with a lean build and long legs.
But your body type doesn't matter much when you can throw like the Putnam City West quarterback.
“A lot of people misjudge his arm strength. It's pretty good,” Putnam City West coach Rocky Martin said with a smile. “He's a great athlete. When he scrambles, his eyes are still downfield. He goes through his reads while he's on the run and he can make those throws.”
Putnam City North found out just what kind of quarterback Stallings is when he threw for 320 yards on 19-of-31 passing in a come-from-behind 30-27 win — West's fourth win over North in the last 20 years, and first since 2000. The performance made Stallings The Oklahoma staff's choice for Oklahoma City-area Player of the Week.
PC West, which hasn't won more than two games since 2003, rallied by scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter, twice finding itself down by double digits. Several PC West teams would have folded at that point, trailing 20-9 at the start of the fourth, and 27-15 with less than eight minutes to play.
But with two late touchdown throws from Stallings — the last to senior Ryan Dunn — and a pair of take-aways by the defense, the Patriots sealed up their second win in three games this season.
“The defense came up big,” Stallings said. “Every time we scored, I told the defense we needed another stop so we could score again, and they kept getting stops.”
Stallings guides an up-tempo spread offense that gives him the opportunity to put the ball in the air a lot. For the year, Stallings is 60-of-92 passing for 870 yards with 10 touchdowns and — most importantly — only one interception.
“Steve just makes it happen,” said senior fullback/linebacker Doug Jones. “The kid's a ballplayer. Going against him in practice, you never know what to expect. He might juke you out and run past you or throw it over your head for 50. You never know.”
Of course, no quarterback can complete 65.2 percent of his passes without some receivers with reliable hands. Martin says the team has six wideouts it can count on. In particular, Dunn and Exzavier King came up big in Friday's win, along with Tanner English and James Walker.
“We've been told we're one of the best receiving groups they've seen here in a while,” Dunn said. “We feel we're pretty good, receiver-wise. We take a lot of pride in it.”
The defense gets a big spark from sophomore end Jordan Eubanks, who is undersized, but has used his strength and speed to pile up 10 sacks through three games, including four last Friday to key one of the Patriots' biggest wins in years.
“It was not only big for the boys on the team, but the school, the community, everyone,” Martin said. “My phone's been ringing nonstop. Everyone's excited, the administration, the middle school kids, the youth. It's been fun.”