EDMOND — Football is a team game, but Edmond Memorial's Connor Myers loves the individual battles.
At defensive tackle, nothing gets him more pumped than a battle with an offensive lineman and getting through to make a stop on a running back or quarterback.
Football is where Myers is making his name now, but it wasn't where he got his start.
Myers began practicing Taekwondo when he was 6.
"I don't really remember how it started,” Myers said. "I just know I wanted to participate in some form of martial arts.”
Participating is one thing, but Myers excelled at his practice at Poos Taekwondo in Edmond. Myers' resume included a second-place finish at the 2008 World Junior Championship Open in the heavyweight division.
But eventually Myers was going to have to make a choice between Taekwondo and football. The gridiron won out, and Myers stopped participating competitively after his freshman year.
His one-on-one battles are done on the mat, but the skills he learned have helped him on the field.
"It was all about the competition. I just couldn't get enough of it,” Myers said. "It's helped in my flexibility and quickness. My footwork is a lot better.”
His agility is one thing, but it might be his strength that sets him apart.
Myers is just under 300 pounds and has become a beast in the weight room. He has set 13 school lifting records in the last three years.
"He just never wants to stop. He doesn't want to leave (the weight room),” coach Justin Merideth said. "He's the heart of this defense this year. He's our rock.”
And defense is what Memorial hangs its hat on. After a rough start last year, the Bulldogs won seven games in a row before losing to Jenks in the state quarterfinals. That run was powered by a stifling defense.
Myers was part of the supporting cast last year as linebacker Adrian Shoecraft and defensive back Nelson Medeiros led the team.
This year he's ready to be the No. 1 guy.
"They taught me about leading by example more than anything,” Myers said. "We thought we would have the success we have, and we don't want it to stop now.”
Myers had 61 tackles and six sacks last season. He has an offer from Air Force, but his summer tour should bring about more attention. In the last week, he's been to Wyoming and Colorado State. He's talked to Montana and still plans to go to Tulsa and Missouri this week.
And then it's over until summer conditioning for the Bulldogs.
"It's going to be great to relax,” Myers said. "This is a real exciting time, though.”