Romeo Blanton has the advantage of experience over most players he will face this season, however, something he’s learned by being a four-year starter on both sides of the ball is to never take anything for granted.
Blanton has everything that the college recruiters want; 6-2 frame, 306 pounds, quickness for a big man and good footwork. He also is very observant.
“I’ve been on the field for the past three Eisenhower games and it’s obvious that they are improving,” the LHS senior said Tuesday when asked about the Eagles. “They are playing harder and they are more consistent. We can’t just go out there and go through the motions and expect them to give us the game. They have some guys who can make plays so we have to prepare well and not overlook them.”
While Blanton will see duty on both sides of the ball Friday at Cameron Stadium, he’s most likely to be on the field more on offense than as a defensive tackle.
“I think they like to save me for offense if possible,” Blanton said. “I have pretty good strength and my footwork has improved. Coach (Carson) Smith has really helped me get better in several ways, especially my footwork.
“It is important to get that first big step to set up the guy you’re blocking. If I do that right, then I have the strength to finish the block. I bench 405 and squat 500, so those are both good enough to handle most of the guys I’m going to face in high school. The important thing is to just be consistent and make sure you do a good job with your footwork. It’s all about fundamentals at this level.”
LHS failed to make the Class 6A-II playoffs last season and Blanton and the other seniors are focused on making sure that streak ends this season and that they start another playoff streak after the district race is concluded.
LHS visits Midwest City on Sept. 25, gets a break when it faces Northwest Classen on Oct. 1 and then faces tough foes Putnam City North (Oct. 9) and Stillwater (Oct. 16) before another less-than-tough foe in U.S. Grant on Oct. 22. Then LHS closes with two tough games on the road at Deer Creek-Edmond (Oct. 30) and Del City (No. 6).
“We just have to go out each day at practice and prepare like we’re facing the No. 1 team in the state,” Blanton said. “We have to work on limiting penalties and turnovers and if we can do that, we have a chance to makes the playoffs and make a good run towards the gold ball.”
Blanton says his 6-2, 305-pound frame comes from plenty of good meals.
“I think my favorite place to eat is Texas Roadhouse,” he said with a big smile. “I want a big, thick ribeye cooked medium rare. My favorite side is broccoli, just broccoli without any cheese sauce.”
When it comes to the classroom, Blanton’s favorite subject is history, with a focus on World War II era.
“That period is something that I’ve always enjoyed studying,” he said. “My grandpa fought in the Vietnam war and that’s another era that I enjoyed learning about.”
While Blanton feels the call to duty, his style is more along the lines of the “Call to Duty” computer game, not so much having the urge to sign up and enter the military after graduation.
“No, I’m pretty focused on going to college and playing football and getting a chance to make it to the NFL if everything works out,” Blanton said. “I’ve already been offered a scholarship to Southwestern but right now I’m just trying to finish this season and see if any other offers come my way.
“I would love to go to OSU (Oklahoma State) and major in engineering or architecture,” Blanton said. “I love working with my hands to fix stuff. I have a 2012 Infinite that I’m working to improve the speed but I’ve got to keep working on it to get it running better.”
For now, Blanton is hoping the timing and execution on the Lawton High School offensive unit is running smoothly because he’d hate for Eisenhower to spoil the city championship party that the Wolverines hope they will be hosting before they begin their playoff drive next Friday at Midwest City.