By Andrew Glover
CUSHING, Okla. —
There weren’t many defenses last year that had an answer for Cushing running back Gage Stallworth as he rushed for 1,930 yards and scored 35 rushing touchdowns. Entering his senior season, Stallworth hopes to top that.
“I tried to get a little bigger,” Stallworth said. “I was wrestling a lot this summer. I didn’t get to work out as much. I’m just trying to get stronger, faster, bigger and to be better.”
While trying to top last season’s success will be a daunting task, Stallworth is putting it all in perspective.
“I’m just trying to stay calm about it,” Stallworth said. “I know I had a good year last year. I’m just trying to get better and have a better year this year.”
One group of guys excited to have Stallworth back in the backfield is his teammates on the offensive line.
“Get your blocking assignments, make the holes and he will run through them,” senior Aaron Nuttle said.
Coach Barrett Shupe said he’s really excited to have his star running back return. He added that Stallworth isn’t one to take all the credit.
“When two-four is in there, it’s a good feeling,” Shupe said. “The kids understand that. The main thing is Gage is very humble about it. He understands that the O-line creates all the space he gets.”
Senior offensive lineman Shelby Tallman said Stallworth worked hard in the offseason and should be more impressive than last season.
“He’s faster, stronger,” Tallman said. “He’s more of a leader this year. All-around better athlete.”
One of the advantages Stallworth and the Tigers have is facing the same defenses from last season.
“We are looking forward to doing our job — hitting them in the mouth,” senior lineman Calvin Mork said. “There’s nothing else we can do.”
On the contrary, opposing defenses also know a little more about Stallworth. The senior running back is confident that he will have success again, especially with the five guys in front of him.
“Our line will do their job,” Stallworth said. “As long as they do their job, I will be ready and do my job. I’m excited for that to it.”
One team that Stallworth is looking forward to rematching with is Seminole. Last November, the Chieftains held Stallworth to 128 yards and allowed only three rushes of 10 yards or more in a 48-19 victory.
“We had a really bad game against them, I feel like,” Stallworth said. “If we come and play our game, i think we can switch that score around and come out on top.”
While, Cushing’s star running back will potentially have several colleges looking at him, Stallworth said he’s just going to take it all in stride.
“My parents are helping me with all of that,” Stallworth said. “Just stay calm and focus on playing football is all I’m focused on right now.”