Rams Defensive Lineman Focused on Title

By Mike Moguin
Sports Correspondent

Courtesy photo

Haydon Grant has played football as long as he can remember.
“It runs in the family,” he said.
The defensive lineman has been a force for the Rams through his high school career.
Grant, a 6’4″, 225-pound senior, recorded 43 tackles and four sacks last year while the Rams reached the Class 6AI semifinals.
While he aims to help the Rams get back to winning a state championship in December, he already has his college plans set. Grant announced on Twitter June 21 that he’ll be playing at the University of Tulsa next year.
“It just felt like it was the right spot,” Grant said. “I took some visits up there and met with the coaching staff and decided that was my place.
“Playing close to home would be amazing. I’ll be playing in front of the people I’ve been around my entire life and playing big-time football at the same time,” he said.
TU already has a crop of local talent from other area schools on its roster, as well as other commitments from the city in its 2020 recruiting class. Grant sees a plus in that.
“I feel like keeping people local helps support the players that are there everyday, working to make a better team,” he said.
He chose the Golden Hurricane over Army, Northern Iowa and Western Illinois.
In addition to playing defense, Grant has duties as the deep snapper on the field goal and PAT unit.
To be successful as a defensive lineman, Grant said, you must have the mentality to get after the ball every play.
“Making plays is always a highlight and you love doing it,” he said. “But, it’s not always about that. It’s about, overall, as a team, winning.
“I love the mentality you can have in football,” Grant said. “You can go hit somebody and do what you want to do and they (opponents) can’t do anything about it.”
When it comes to his role model players, Grant likes J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans.
“That’s who I grew up watching and I still watch his highlights and watch the moves he uses and I try to use the same moves,” he said.
Grant gives credit to the Owasso coaching staff for the Rams’ ascent as a top contender in Class 6AI.
“They have brought us together when it comes to facing difficult opponents. You have to give it all to the coaching staff,” he said.
“Coach B (Blankenship) not only helps us in our athletic career, he also wants to train us spiritually and get us right (with God) and help us in all other aspects in life, and he works with us on that,” Grant said. “So, he also works on everything with us, not just football.”
After winning state in 2017, Owasso got off to a 1-3 start last year.
“Going into the year, we knew it would be a growing year that we would have to work hard and grind through,” Grant said. “We lost a lot of key players like Josh Proctor and Wayne Jones. We came in knowing that we had to grind, knowing that we wouldn’t just walk on the field and win. I feel like we came together by the end of the year and finished out strong.”
And the Rams did. They went 6-2 the rest of the way, including a 10-7 loss to eventual state champion Broken Arrow in the semifinals.
“I feel like in the game against Broken Arrow in the semifinals, we gave it everything we had. I feel like we did what we needed to do. We just didn’t come out on top,” Grant said.
The result served as a springboard through the offseason.
“Anytime you lose, you want to come back and beat that team,” Grant said. “But I would say this offseason, we’ve worked on ourselves because we know that if we are the best we can be, (our opponents) is not going to be our problem.
“We’re focusing in on every game like it’s the biggest game,” Grant said.

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