McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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September 24, 2013

Grant Sontag helps the offense go

(Continued)

McALESTER —

“As the outside tackle, we have to set the edge. We have to block the outside to where the back get around or the receiver on a sweep.”

Playing on the line requires a certain attitude. Though he said his teammates respect and regularly praise the offensive linemen for it does — “Last year one time, Caden (Pratt, 2012 quarterback) said we were one of the best lines in the state” — offensive linemen get few opportunities to stand out as individuals or rack up stats.

That attitude tends to form a tight bond between offensive linemen, who Sontag said know that “without us, the offense wouldn’t function properly.” Sontag said he’s formed such a bond with many of his Buffs teammates, especially good friend and right tackle Austin Hilton, which might be what he’ll miss most after graduating in May.

“I just like how quickly I’ve gained friends and how quickly I’ve gained camaraderie with people,” Sontag said.

Sontag’s devotion to his position shows up when he watches football as well. His favorite player is Seattle Seahawks tackle Russell Okung, a former Oklahoma State University player, and when he watches a game, Sontag said he watches the line as much as the skill-position players.

“I like how physical he is,” Sontag said of Okung. “He’s really good with his hands.”

Along with being McAlester’s starting left tackle, Sontag started at first base for the Buffs’ baseball team last spring. He started playing baseball when he was three, his development as a first baseman helping his development as a left tackle and vice versa.

“Being a first baseman, you have to be quick laterally,” Sontag said. “And I think with this type of offense, being a tackle, you also have to be very quick laterally, and you have to be very good with your feet.”

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