TUTTLE — Tuttle's Jesse Gregory wasn't expected to play much on offense.
The junior was expected to get some carries at tailback but was primarily expected to contribute at outside linebacker.
“I'd kind of given up a little bit on playing tailback,” Gregory said. “But when Morgan Neal got hurt, it was tough having to play both ways.”
Neal's injury midway through the season opened the door for Gregory to get more carries.
Gregory has taken advantage, running for more than 1,100 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Last week, in a 56-34 win over Blanchard, Gregory turned in his biggest game yet, running for 229 yards and four touchdowns to help the Tigers earn a home playoff opener.
For his efforts, Gregory is The Oklahoman's Player of the Week.
“He's not very big, but he's put together really well, is very fast and is a state-champion powerlifter,” Tuttle coach Phil Koons said. “He's just like a SuperBall. He bounces off of you and if he gets a crease, he's gone.”
When Tuttle has been successful this year, and it has been most of the time, the Tigers have done it with a relentless running attack and just enough of a passing game to keep defenses honest.
“That's kind of been our trademark for a long time,” Koons said. “We keep people loose with a little bit of an air game but we're going to run it most of the time with two or three guys.”
A big key to that has been the blocking of Austin Link, Conner Polston, Austin Porter, Keifer Venable, Nathan Voreis and tight ends Brett Traxler and Nick Mills.
“They've stayed relatively healthy,” Koons said. “It's really been a joy to watch this offense and the way we've been able to keep pounding at people with fresh backs.”
For Gregory, this was supposed to be a transitional year anyway.
He was moved up from safety to linebacker.
“I guess I was more of a hitting kind of a guy,” Gregory said. “I got beat deep a lot at safety. But they tried me at outside linebacker and I did pretty good in the scrimmages so I started focusing and working on that and getting better there.
“I caught on pretty quick. I was coming off the edge or blitzing more of the time and really enjoyed that.”
The Tigers open the playoffs at home against Bristow on Friday.
After falling to Jones in Week 8 after a 7-0 start, Gregory said Tuttle is back to doing what made it to successful earlier in the season.
“We just weren't into that game,” Gregory said. “I'm not sure what happened with that. Jones really opened our eyes and let us know that we were capable of being beaten. We started practicing harder after that. No more taking off for us.”