McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

October 13, 2013

Caden Pratt grows up on the football field

(Continued)

McALESTER —

Having finished second in the state in powerlifting as a sophomore, Caden said he wasn’t surprised by his title. But having never competed in the long jump before last spring, that success came a little more out of the blue.

“If you push yourself in off-season football, you’re going to be able to compete in whatever sport you want,” Caden said.

Caden said he wasn’t sure if he’d do powerlifting or track his senior year. After playing sports year-round for so long, he said he might prefer to leave his after-school schedule blank and just enjoy his last few months at McAlester High School.

It’ll be a short-lived respite for Caden, as he’s already received scholarship offers from several schools, including Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Lindenwood University in Missouri and the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland. Pratt said he plans to study business in college, then open up an auto repair shop, ideally back in McAlester.

“I would not pick any other place in the United States to play football,” Caden said.

“I look at everyone in this locker room as family.”

In his spare time, Caden said he loves cars. He and teammate Mikey Verner have even been rebuilding a 1968 Ford F100 pickup truck.

Most people at some point in their lives will do something dumb and have to pay a price for it. But not every person who does something dumb learns from it.

Caden did something dumb during a 2012 game against Booker T. Washington. Following a botched fake punt, a Booker T. player started talking trash, and Caden punched him in the stomach.

The hit resulted in an immediate ejection, followed by a two-game suspension.

After serving his suspension, Caden still played with the same fire with which he’s always played, but he found a way to channel any anger or frustration into his performance. He came back from the suspension better focused, smarter and more mature, and he hasn’t been ejected or suspended since.

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