Deer Creek coach Grant Gower has seen the progress.
“He's really had a great offseason,” Gower said. “He worked in the spring, in the weight room, he's gotten quicker.”
While Blumenthal hopes the adjustments lead to a Division I offer — he hasn't received one yet but is being heavily recruited by New Mexico, TCU and Texas-San Antonio — he also wants to make up for the way last season ended.
The Antlers started 8-1 last year before dropping their final three games.
“We started off strong and just lost our focus,” Blumenthal said. “I learned how to keep my composure. I can go back to those games now and know the things that I could have done different and know what I can do if those things come up again.”
And that realization has Blumenthal and Deer Creek, with most of its offensive weapons back, thinking big things.
“It's on us,” Blumenthal said. “We can be as good as we want to be. We've got to be focused throughout the season, but if we do that, we could go as far as the state championship game.
“We have the talent that can beat anybody.”
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Campaign slogan: The time is right
Deer Creek quarterback Joel Blumenthal put up solid numbers last year — throwing for more than 1,900 yards and 20 touchdowns while throwing just five interceptions. This season, though, Blumenthal feels even better about his game. The Antlers return most of their skill-position players and Blumenthal's improved arm strength, mostly stemming from some mechanical adjustments, have him poised for a big senior year.
Endorsements for Joel Blumenthal
Hunter Dinkines, former Deer Creek WR and current SWOSU freshman: “Joel's a great dual-threat quarterback. He's not afraid to hit you over the top with a deep ball as well as run the ball. He's a good leader that takes command of his team when he needs to. I wish him and the Antlers the best of luck.”
Brennan Miyake, Deer Creek RB: “He has tremendous leadership on and off the field and the work he puts in during the offseason has really developed into a very well-rounded quarterback. He's always been able to scramble well but this year I think the development of his arm along with his great understanding of our offense is allowing him to really pick apart defenses. He always knows who to get the ball to and has spread it around well, making it tough for teams to try and double cover or load the box. Overall he's just a fantastic leader and a composed guy under pressure and he's going to always do what needs to be done to get the ball in the end zone.”
Rafe Watkins, Guthrie coach: “Last year, we put pressure on him like we do every quarterback, and he did a good job against us. We made him get rid of the ball quick, but he stayed poised in the pocket. He throws a great ball and keeps his composure. Talking to Grant Gower, it sounds like he's a great leader for them. We know he's a great player we're going to have to face down the line.”