The clock is ticking down for the senior members of the Oklahoma State football team.
With just two games remaining in the season, the OSU seniors are starting to realize their college careers as Cowboys are coming to a close.
For Lane Taylor, it’s been one illustrious career.
The offensive lineman has started in every game for Oklahoma State since the third game of his freshman season. And now, there’s just two games left to add to his starting total.
“It’s all really winding down. I played my last home game (against Texas Tech), so that was a really big marking point to make me realize that my career is coming to an end here,” Taylor said. “But it’s been a great run and I’ve had a lot of fun.”
The fact Taylor has never been supplanted on the line, or missed time due to injury, speaks to his consistency for the Cowboys.
“It’s not like he’s torn up the world, but he’s done a nice job, he’s consistent and we’re happy and blessed that we have him,” OSU offensive line coach Joe Wickline said. “But the biggest thing is just the consistency that he brings. He’s always there, he doesn’t make many mistakes and he’s solid and dependable.”
But Wickline admitted that he was taking a bit of a gamble when throwing Taylor into the starting rotation his freshman season.
“He’s been kind of surprising on the front end because you didn’t really know years ago what you had there for a year or so,” Wickline said. “... We had some issues there, we were trying to move some guys around because we had a bunch of tackles but not many guards and thought there for a while that he was too young. So we gave it a whirl and kind of tried him out there and he stepped up. So he really proved himself and took advantage of that opportunity given to him.”
The early success of Taylor made an impact on the young offensive linemen who came in with Taylor. Junior Parker Graham saw Taylor jump up the depth chart in Graham’s redshirt season — giving Graham a guiding light to make a similar move into the starting rotation as a sophomore.
“It was something that stuck so well with me that I just had to work hard and I could possibly get on the field,” Graham said. “... It just adds character to Lane — working so hard and overcoming a lot to get there.”
Taylor has been at the forefront of the recent success the Cowboy program has had. In his freshman year, OSU earned a trip to the Cotton Bowl and by his junior season Oklahoma State earned its first BCS bowl bid — and victory.
“I couldn’t imagine the amount of success that this program has had in just the four years I’ve played here,” Taylor said. “It’s just really gone to another level and it’s great to be a part of that.”
The Cowboy program has seen success in the running game in the four years Taylor has been on the line. From Keith Toston and Kendall Hunter his first two years to Joseph Randle these past two, the running backs have had success behind the OSU offensive line anchored by the Arlington, Texas, native.
“He’s had a very accomplished career. He’s probably one of the greatest lineman I’ve ever been around,” Randle said. “... He’s had a lot of 1,000-yard backs behind him. He’s had a 1,000-yard back running behind him for all four years that he’s played. That’s an accomplishment. He’s been a part of a great line every year, and he’s just a great player.”
Randle said having a player like Taylor on the line makes it easier for running backs to focus on their job running or pass blocking.
“I’m comfortable with Lane,” Randle said. “I always know he’s going to handle his business. When you’ve got guys like that, it makes you more comfortable with being able to just worry about your job.”
And it’s that type of player that will be difficult for Wickline to try to replace when Taylor plays his last game as a Cowboy.
“Other guys are taller, other guys are this or that, but he’s been a standard,” Wickline said. “He will definitely be hard to lose. He’s just been such a staple and a rock for who we are and what we’ve done for many years here.”
JASON ELMQUIST is the sports editor for the Stillwater NewsPress.
The clock is ticking down for the senior members of the Oklahoma State football team.
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Monday's game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Dallas Stars was postponed after Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench shortly after completing a shift in the first period.
North grad fuels OCU
Oklahoma City University clobbered St. Gregory’s 12-3 on Sunday at Jim Wade Stadium supported by three runs batted in by freshman Jared Baker out of Edmond North High School.
Ryan Wright, a junior from Fruitland, Idaho, drove in four runs while going 3-for-5 with a double and his first home run with OCU. The Stars, ranked fifth in NAIA baseball, improved to 14-3, 6-0 in the Sooner Athletic Conference.
Deer Creek boys make state; Bulldogs eliminated by Owasso
The Deer Creek Antlers made a run on Durant in the third quarter of a Class 5A area consolation championship game that thrusted Deer Creek into the state tournament for the first time since 1997.
The Antlers, 18-9, got up on the Lions by six points in the third and then held the ball, thus forcing Durant to come out of its zone en route to a 54-45 win.
Led by Conner Avants’ 26 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots, Deer Creek got some easy scores going against the Lions’ pressure in the fourth.
Antler Tyler Haddock added 16 points and five rebounds and teammate Brett Valentine contributed eight points.
UCO fights to MIAA championship; falls to Missouri Southern
A spirited postseason run came to an abrupt ending for Central Oklahoma in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Tournament finals Sunday afternoon in Kansas City, Mo.
The depth-challenged Bronchos played just six players and fatigue played a factor in the second half as Missouri Southern claimed an 84-72 victory to capture the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division II national tournament.
Fifth-seeded UCO, playing for the third straight day, fell to 20-10 and is doubtful to earn an at-large bid into the playoffs when the full 64-team field is announced late Sunday night. The Lions improved to 24-5.
The Bronchos led 40-39 at halftime, but missed five straight shots during a key second-half stretch when Missouri Southern stretched a 45-44 lead to double digits at 54-44 with 14:21 remaining and UCO never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
Putnam North fires back in second half
The Lady Bulldogs of Edmond Memorial kept their heart beating by downing Bartlesville 48-42 Thursday night in an area consolation contest, but the momentum came to an abrupt stop Saturday afternoon in the consolation championship at Catoosa High School. Putnam North ended Memorial’s season with a 46-31 decision.
Deer Creek loses nail-biter; Memorial boys fall to Tulsa Union
The Deer Creek Antlers were just seconds away from entering the Class 5A state tournament, but Del City’s Brett Cannon scored on a reverse layup on a back-door move with one second left to down Deer Creek 47-45 in overtime in an area championship contest at Catoosa High School.
“We’re playing really well,” Antler skipper Matt Bailey said following the nail-biter. “They got us with the last shot in overtime.”
Deer Creek will face the winner of the McAlester/Durant game Saturday at 6:30 at Sapulpa High School in the area consolation title game with a trip to the big dance on the line.
After impressive road series, OC’s Coats receives NCCAA pitching honor
Oklahoma Christian’s Shea Coats was honored Tuesday as the National Christian College Athletic Association’s softball pitching student-athlete of the week.
Coats, a freshman from Tuttle, was honored for her performance as the Lady Eagles won two of three games last weekend at Texas-Permian Basin. Coats threw a complete-game 1-hitter to lead Oklahoma Christian to a 3-0 win in the series opener, then threw two perfect innings in relief to earn the save as the Lady Eagles took the series finale 6-2.
In her nine innings of work, Coats struck out 11 batters while walking four. She currently ranks fifth in the Heartland Conference in strikeouts with 46, in 43 innings of work.
She is the first OC softball player to win a NCCAA weekly award this season.
Broncho Gibbs stacks up honors
Central Oklahoma’s Josh Gibbs was a repeat first-team selection on the All-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Team that was released by the league office Tuesday.
The 6-5 senior forward is averaging 20.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals a game .
Gibbs, who leads the league in rebounds and ranks third in scoring, has had 17 double-doubles this season. He’s also second in the MIAA in 3-pointers per game with 2.4, having made 66 treys while shooting 38.8 percent from beyond the arc.
SLIDESHOW: Lady Wolves win Area basketball title
The Edmond Santa Fe Lady Wolves won the Area basketball title with a win over Norman North at Choctaw Thursday evening.
Santa Fe thwarts Norman North offense
The Edmond Santa Fe Lady Wolves added another plaque to their collection and took one more step toward a gold ball Thursday night.
Edmond took down a feisty Norman North squad 64-47 at Choctaw High School to win the Class 6A west area tournament and advance to the state tournament that begins March 13.
“We’re going to enjoy that for tomorrow and now we’ve got to go find who we play on Saturday and we’re going to focus,” said Paul Bass, Santa Fe head coach. “It’s one game at a time. We’re 24-1, but that really doesn’t matter because now we’re in the third tournament of the year for us. This is the one that’s most important — get to state and try to get that gold ball.”
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