By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Tanner Roberts will long remember Sept. 27.
The Oklahoma Bible Academy senior’s extra point in the second overtime proved to be the winning margin in the Trojans’ 43-42 win at Beaver, OBA’s first win of the season.
A hero was born.
“That’s pretty awesome,’’ he said with a smile.
Especially since he was discovered kicking as a little bit of a lark after practice by the Trojan coaches in the second week of the season.
“We were just messing around,’’ Roberts said. “I made one from 20 yards and one from 30 yards ... I just started making them. I surprised myself.’’
Of course, kicking an extra point with the game on the line is a little different from doing it for fun.
“There was a lot of pressure,’’ Roberts said. “You get a little more nervous in a close game, but this will give me a lot more confidence during the season.’’
Roberts’ kick was a boost for the 1-4 Trojans, who host No. 4-ranked Texhoma at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Commitment Field.
“I never saw a win have the kind of impact it has had on our kids,’’ said OBA coach Mark Boyd. “It’s really been a blessing.’’
That’s exactly what Roberts — one of the few players remaining from the 2009 OBA state semifinal team — wanted.
He has seen his first role being that as a mentor to a predominately freshmen-sophomore team.
“I’ve been trying to help the young guys see all of the potential they have ... how they can grow and how they can be a good football team when they are upperclassmen,’’ Roberts said.
Boyd said Roberts’ positive attitude has helped the Trojans through difficult times.
“If you have seniors with bad attitudes, it can make for a miserable season,’’ Boyd said. “He’s been a very vocal leader for us. He’s our rah-rah guy who has done a good job of keeping everyone up and involved.’’
Roberts said he’s just trying to do for the younger players what seniors like Harrison Jackson and Robert MacDonald did for him as a young player.
“They showed me how to be a leader,’’ Roberts said. “They taught me many things. I tell everyone we might be losing, but we have to keep fighting.’’
Roberts’ leadership goes beyond the football field.
He is the student council president who may go into politics like his brother, Tyler.
“The most fun about it is getting involved and getting to know all the students at OBA,’’ he said.”I just try to lead the school in the right way.’’
Roberts carries a 3.5 grade point average and is on the school’s academic team, which finished third in the state. He said academic bowl can be as competitive as any football, basketball or baseball game.
“It’s really competitive,’’ he said. “You have to have a fast thumb.’’
But Roberts’ favorite football memories aren’t necessarily the extra points or catches he’s made as a wide receiver or tackles he’s made in the secondary.
“The best thing about football is the camaraderie and being with my brothers as I call them,’’ Roberts said. “The best memories haven’t been on the field, it’s where people don’t see, the bus rides, the locker room or eating after a game.’’
Roberts has spent four years going on a bus to the Panhandle twice a season.
“I’m going to miss those trips,’’ he said. “They have always been fun. I actually slept all the way out there. The trip didn’t faze me.
“There were a lot of laughs on the way back (from Beaver). There aren’t many things that can compare with the whole football team being together like that.’’
But nothing brings a team together like an emotional double overtime win.
“That was the most exciting game I’ve ever played in,’’ Roberts said. “It compared to some of the games I’ve played in my freshman year that went down to the wire.’’
At 5-foot-8 and 140 pounds, his future is more in politics than football. He’s not the typical football stereotype.
“I definitely have to use my brain,’’ Roberts said. “I’m going against guys bigger and stronger and I’m not a hard hitter by any means. I just have to do my best. I just try not to get beat deep.’’
Boyd said Roberts has done that this season, grading high in every game.
Roberts said football fits in well with his strong spiritual feelings.
“You have to trust God and trust he has a plan for all of this,’’ Roberts said. “You have to trust he knows what’s best for this football team. You can be tough and be spiritual.’’
The senior season has been special to him because he has gotten to play with his cousin Baylor Boyd, one of OBA’s two quarterbacks. The two boys’ mothers are sisters. Mark Boyd is Roberts’ uncle.
“I think they have been talking since Baylor was 5 and Tanner was 8 about playing together,’’ coach Boyd said.
“It’s been a lot of fun,’’ Roberts said. “We have been playing catch for awhile.’’
Texhoma (4-0) has outscored its opponents, 216-48 this season. The Red Devils are coming off a 42-6 win over previously undefeated Mooreland.
Bryson Beattie rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns and returned a punt for another score. Texhoma had 445 yards on a Bearcat team that had soundly defeated OBA 45-7 the week before.
“It’s going to be a tough one,’’ Roberts said. “Hopefully, we can build momentum off the Beaver game and shock them. I tell the younger kids, winning feels good so why not keep winning?’’
Roberts still is hopeful of OBA (1-1 in district) making the playoffs and extending his career. He is undecided between Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Arkansas as his college choice.
“I’m motivated every day to come to practice and see what kind of impact I can make on the younger players,’’ he said. “It’s going to be hard giving up football. I’ve been playing since elementary school, but it has to end sometime.’’
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TEXHOMA AT OBA
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Records: Texhoma 4-0, OBA 1-4
Series: Tied 2-2
Last:Texhoma won 29-0, 2011