It's no coincidence Braden Stringer's time as a starter at Blanchard resulted in the best back-to-back years in program history.
After his team went 5-5 during Stringer's sophomore season in 2011, The Oklahoman's first-team All-State running back played a major role in turning the Lions into a championship team over his final two years.
The school won its second state title in 2012, with Stringer scoring the decisive touchdown in the Class 3A state championship game.
This season, the Lions went 13-1 and finished runner-up with Stringer's 3,202 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns leading the way.
“I think he really played a key role in changing the culture for our kids,” said Blanchard coach Jeff Craig. “When your kids get to see a guy have individual success like Braden, they watch how hard he works and realize what it takes. He's still always been committed to the team, and taking guys under his wing to show them the hard work and dedication will pay off.”
“He's just a solid representative of our school and our program and what we stand for.”
Some say Stringer, who's also a wrestling standout, is one of the best athletes to come out of Blanchard.
However, playing at the Class 3A level and checking in at 5-foot-9 has apparently hurt him on the recruiting trail as he still hasn't received any Division I scholarship offers for football.
“He can play with the big boys,” Craig said. “He's got the strength, he's got the speed, he's got the vision. The only thing he doesn't have that maybe some others do is height, but in some ways that's an advantage for him. He's real good at what he does. I would take him wherever I was at because I know what he brings to the table.”
Stringer has received some Division I recruiting interest for wrestling, but fully intends to play just football in college regardless of level.
“I'm definitely set on playing football in college,” said Stringer, who currently lists UCO among his top choices. “You've got to really love wrestling to continue doing it, and I don't really want to keep watching what I eat. I'm planning to play football, and hopefully somewhere we can win.”