Norman High defensive end Cade Parker started off his senior season with a bang, collecting five sacks against rival Norman North.
The performance tied the school's single-game record and helped the Tigers earn a 38-31 win. It also helped ignite what would be a stellar season for The Oklahoman All-State defensive lineman.
Parker set school records for sacks in a season with 21 and in a career with 32 — accomplishing all the individual goals he'd made before his final year.
“I wasn't as confident as my coach was in me at first,” Parker said. “He knew I could break the records and goals we set for me. When I got five sacks in one game, that's when I really knew I could get those records. And listening to all the technique and things he taught me helped a lot.”
Being selected to the All-State team has helped him gain further confidence in his ability.
“This type of honor is what I've been working for since I was a freshman,” Parker said. “All the hard work and sprints in two-a-days and practice, and everything I've done for the purpose of becoming the best player I could be. This is just validating that I put in enough work to become the best player I could be.”
One of the biggest reasons behind Parker becoming a great pass rusher has come from an entirely different sport — wrestling.
“To be a good defensive lineman, you have to use your hands a lot,” Parker said. “In wrestling, you use your hands to gain control. That's the whole key. So with wrestling I've learned how to use my hands and think while I'm dead tired. That's allowed me to gain leverage on the football field.”
While finishing up his high school wrestling career with hopes of placing at the state tournament, Parker will also be taking visits to several Division II schools before deciding where he'll play football next year.