McALESTER — When it comes to sports, McAlester senior Kyler Thompson keeps finding himself in the same pattern. He’s always seemed to start a sport later than his teammates, then have to play catch-up.
Take football, for example. Thompson grew up in McAlester and started playing football in the sixth grade, but he then skipped his sophomore year and then lost his junior year to ineligibility.
“I wanted to quit to play basketball, but I didn’t really like not being in football,” Thompson said Thursday. “Seeing them winning games and having fun and everything made me miss it and want to come back.”
Because of those two years away, Thompson entered this season lower on the depth chart than many of his teammates. Though he’s gotten some playing time on the varsity kickoff team, Thompson has had to draw most of his satisfaction as a receiver on the scout team, which every week tries to mimic the playing style of the Buffs’ upcoming opponent.
“My goal was just to help the team get better any way I could,” Thompson. “And then, (I liked) being part of a brotherhood, because playing didn’t really matter to me as long as my team was doing well.”
Thompson has been a wide receiver since he joined the Puterbaugh team in the seventh grade. But he began as a running back and said he still sometimes misses it, especially “finding the open holes, and then being able to pick up yards.”
Friday will mark Thompson’s final football game at Hook Eales Stadium, and his final football season will end at most two weeks after that. Football is also a family thing for Thompson, as both his uncle, Kendall Thompson, and brother, Don Bowles, played for McAlester High School.
Thompson started powerlifting after his freshman football season, but he said that when he skipped football his sophomore year, he skipped powerlifting as well. Thompson rejoined the powerlifting team as a junior, winning a regional title in the 145-pound weight class, placing 10th at the state powerlifting meet and contributing two team points towards the Buffs’ 5A state powerlifting title.