BLANCHARD — With the expectation of two or three times as many carries, it seemed unlikely that Blanchard running back Braden Stringer would be able to match his 10-yard-per-carry average of a year ago.
Unlikely, but not impossible.
Last season, Stringer averaged 9.7 yards over 142 rushing attempts during the Lions' run to the Class 3A state championship. Yet with his transition from primarily a defensive player to featured back, Stringer's per-carry production has gone up — by more than a yard.
But last year, Stringer's primary role was on defense, while he and Stephan Davis split carries at running back. Now, with Stringer getting the ball as many as 25 or 30 times in big games, he has turned into a workhorse.
The 5-foot-8, 180-pound senior has rushed for 2,880 yards and 41 touchdowns on 257 carries, an average of 11.2 yards per attempt. He's coming off a quarterfinal playoff game in which he rushed for 338 yards and six touchdowns to earn The Oklahoman's staff choice as City-Area Player of the Week.
“With the maturation of our line, and Braden continuing to get stronger and faster, we knew he could be good,” said coach Jeff Craig, whose Lions face Plainview in the Class 3A semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Moore Stadium.
“He's always had great vision and good feet. He's added about 10 pounds since last year. It's just been a good mixture for him to have a good year.”