McALESTER — Statistics don’t say much about McAlester senior receiver and defensive back Blakely Williams, but his teammates definitely know Williams’ value.
Every time a running back, quarterback or receiver has broken off a big run or turned a short catch into a long one, chances are Williams was a few step ahead, throwing a key block.
“’Extremely unselfish’ is the way I would describe him,” Buffs coach Bryan Pratt said of Williams on Wednesday. “He doesn’t care about getting the ball, or ‘I’m not getting this or that.’ He just does what he’s supposed to do, and he gives us great effort, and he always has. Whether it’s special teams, defense, offense, when he’s out there, he’s going to give us everything he has and have a great attitude about it.”
Born in a military hospital in Glenpool, Tex., Williams spent his first three years in Mississippi, then moved to McAlester. He started playing football for Savanna in the fourth grade, playing a multitude of offensive and defensive positions.
Williams said he grew up watching the Buffaloes play every Friday night. He transferred to Puterbaugh Middle School in the seventh grade, then settled into his current combination of wide receiver and defensive back in the ninth grade.
“There’s a lot more competition, coming from Savanna (to McAlester),” Williams said. “It makes me play harder, and I think it’s made me better.”
Williams said he likes playing offense and defense equally. Both provide an opportunity to be physical with the opposition, which he said lets him “blow off some steam.”
After a year of freshman football and then a year on the JV, Williams made varsity as a junior in 2012. He played his first Friday-night game in Week 1 against Stillwater at Hook Eales Stadium.
“I was pretty nervous,” Williams said of his varsity debut. He added that after making his first hit, he calmed down.
Williams said he really committed to the blocking aspect of being a receiver in the offseason before his senior year. That talent has made him an integral part of McAlester’s receiving corps despite not being as tall as some of his fellow receivers.
Williams has also been a big part of McAlester’s special teams success. He returned punts last year, and he’s also been part of the blocking team the Buffs send out when an opponent tries to punt, kick a field goal or an extra point.
“I just try to make myself stand out,” Williams said. “Whenever they ask me to do something, I try to do it to the best of my ability. I know that if I do things right, they’ll notice.”
To help maximize his ability, Williams said he tries to watch his diet. His favorite class at McAlester High School was a food economics class that combined cooking with nutrition.
“If you don’t eat or drink the right things, you’ll feel it in practice,” Williams said. “You can definitely tell that there’s a difference in what you eat.”
A multi-sport athlete, Williams said he tries to stay active year-round. He’s a point guard in basketball, an outfielder in baseball, and he said he couldn’t pick a favorite sport from the three.
When he’s not playing sports, Williams said he loves being outdoors. An avid hunter, Williams bagged his first trophy deer during the 2008 youth gun season, an 8-point buck weighing about 130 pounds.
Williams said he had that deer’s head mounted, and it now hangs above the bed in his room. He added that he shot a 9-point buck this season, so he’ll soon have two trophies above his bed.
“You set up trail cameras, deer feeder, stuff like that, get a pattern,” Williams said. “It takes a whole lot of strategy.”
That love of the outdoors has made Williams want to be a game warden. He said he plans to go to college, though he’s not yet sure where, and study law enforcement and wildlife preservation to help him achieve that goal.
“It’s something I’ve admired since I was really little,” Williams said.
“It’s very relaxing.”
Williams’ final season is already nearly at Week 9. He’ll play his last home game Friday against Skiatook, then play his last regular season the next Friday at Tulsa Memorial.
“It’s intense,” Williams said of the Hook Eales atmosphere. “You can just feel it whenever you’re about to come out. It’s special.”
However, the Buffs’ last two games go, Williams’ season will continue with a trip to the playoffs.
And however long McAlester’s playoff run lasts, Williams is certain to play a big part.
Contact Matt Goisman at email@example.com.