McALESTER — Though he said he played Boys & Girls Club football when he was young, McAlester senior Drew Amos didn’t enjoy what he considered the disorganized, at-times chaotic style of gameplay.
Once he joined McAlester’s football program at Puterbaugh Middle School, everything began to change.
“It was a big change, getting responsibilities and having to run certain stuff to a certain spot,” Amos said Thursday.
“I had a sense of what I was doing.”
Amos was born in Kansas City, Mo., then moved to Oklahoma City within a year. With much of his extended family in the area, Amos came to McAlester in the third grade and enrolled at Emerson Elementary.
After Emerson came Parker Intermediate Center, then Puterbaugh, where Amos’ football career began.
“It’s the ‘all-American’ sport, and I always looked up to people that played football,” Amos said.
“Football really caught my eye. It got my attention easily. When I saw people with pads on, it made me think of having armor on.”
Though officially listed as a wide receiver and outside linebacker, Amos has played multiple positions in his four years with the Buffs. Though he said he started some at receiver last year, he’s seen most of his varsity playing time this season on special teams, including kickoff, kickoff return and punt block.
He got into his first varsity game as a sophomore on the kickoff team at Tulsa Hale on Oct. 27, 2011.
“I like to hit people on defense and get that adrenaline rush when you hit someone,” Amos said. “But then, scoring the touchdowns and everything, it’s kind of a back-and-forth thing.”
Both of Amos’ favorite memories as a Buffalo involve big hits. His first came last year against Durant, with Amos “ear holing” — delivering a hard but clean block to the side of an opponent’s helmet — a defender while blocking in front of a bubble pass.
Another big hit came this year on a bunt block play against Skiatook.
“I went straight up with this kid, caged him up, and he fell to his back as soon as I made contact,” Amos said of the Skiatook play. “You get that feeling that he submits under your power, and that’s a good feeling.”
Standing 6-foot-1 but weighing 175 pounds, Amos has a lean look to him, especially when out of uniform. But that’s nothing compared to how he looked as a freshman, and he credited his physical development to receiver coaches Austin Maddux and James Barr.
“He was the one that was pushing me to gain the most weight that I could,” Amos said of Maddux. “He’s kind of my role model on the football team out of our coaching staff. Him and Coach Barr, they always want me to get bigger, get better at my routes.”
To help improve his strength during the offseason, Amos has taken part in the Buffs’ winter powerlifting program. He said he came within one place of qualifying for last year’s state meet in the 168-pound weight class, and he plans to do powerlifting again this winter.
“It’s been a pretty big change in weight since my freshman year,” Amos said. “I was 135 (pounds) my freshman year. I looked small, had no definition of muscle or anything. I was a scrawny little kid.”
When it comes to football, Amos said “there’s nothing else that compares to being a Buffalo,” and on Friday nights the game has his full attention. But he also plays tenor sax in the Pride of McAlester marching band, competing at band competitions but not marching during games.
When he’s not doing football-related activities, Amos said he enjoys working on cars. He enjoys it enough that he wants to study engineering in college, preferably at Bacone College, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school in Muskogee at which Amos said he could earn a football scholarship.
“It was a soothing thing, working on cars, it being quiet and everything,” Amos said. “Being able to work with my grandpa, he was my father-figure growing up, and it just gave me a great feeling.
“I’m a hands-on person. I like to get in there and work on stuff with my hands and get dirty.”
Given McAlester’s strong corps of starting receivers and linebackers, Amos has had to wait for key moments during this final season to show off his abilities.
But once he’s in, Amos will always give the Buffs — and the other team — his best shot.
Contact Matt Goisman at email@example.com.