ANADARKO — Tramayne Wauahdooah has a story to tell, and he’s not hiding it from anyone.
Unlike most of the other top high school football players in the state, this story is not about how he’s excited for his senior year.
It’s also not about how he hit so hard in peewee football that he got kicked out of games.
Not even about how he tore his meniscus his sophomore year when he was leading the state in rushing, but put on four knee braces and finished the game.
It doesn’t involve how he’ll move back to tailback full time this season while still playing linebacker.
It has little to do with the fact that he is one of the state’s hardest-hitting defenders, that he’s trying to help Anadarko win a third state title in four years, that he has offers from TCU, Texas Tech, Houston, Wyoming, Tulsa and Toledo, or that the likes of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State are still recruiting him.
Wauahdooah wants to tell a story about how it often takes fire to turn a boy into a man.
But his story does start at that Week 3 game against Perry when he tore his meniscus and played through it. The following Sunday, he tried to cut, but couldn’t. Still, he went out to Anadarko’s next practice. Coach Kent Jackson made him sit out and get treatment. He missed three weeks.
“It tore me to pieces,” Wauahdooah said.
It was the breaking point in a much more complex situation. Here’s an abridged version:
A couple of years earlier, Wauahdooah’s mother and the man he had come to call father got a divorce. That sent Wauahdooah’s mother into a time filled with stress and personal demons of her own.
As an only child, that took its toll on Wauahdooah. He said despite never drinking, never being into that scene, he started smoking marijuana.
“That was the only thing that could take my stress away,” he said.
But that release still wasn’t enough
“I was to the point I didn’t want to be here,” Wauahdooah said. “I felt like the whole world was against me. In class, I wouldn’t talk to teachers. They’d ask me questions, I wouldn’t talk to them. I was by myself on the field, I was always about me. I didn’t care about my teammates.”
After getting yelled at by coaches, fighting with his mother and eventually failing a drug test, Wauahdooah woke up. In doing so, he grew up, and Anadarko coach Clint Jackson gave him another chance.
“I don’t really know where I would stand without him,” Wauahdooah said. “Giving me another chance woke me up completely. You don’t get too many chances with him. I can say I got an extra chance with him, and I cherished it, I took it and I made something big out of it.”
By doing something big, he means getting his life in order and putting on a junior season where he unleashed havoc on opposing offenses.
“He knocks somebody out every game,” Jackson said. “He’s the most physical player I’ve ever coached. All the college scouts that have come through, they’ve used words like ferocious hitter and physical. He doesn’t weigh but 190 pounds, but he’s fast and he just has that ability to hit. That’s something you can’t coach.”
And though his journey to this point has been deeper and more complicated than it is for most, his overarching goals are the same as any high schooler.
He wants to win a third state title, keep his grades up, play in college and make his family and the Anadarko community proud.
He wants to make the most of this second chance.
“When I did go through that stuff, I didn’t feel like it, but there was a lot of people behind me,” Wauahdooah said. “That’s when I realized I wasn’t going to set myself up for failure.
“I finally woke up and realized what was real and what was in front of me instead of looking at the past.”