Sep. 20—Aubrey Runkle relishes the chance to play football.
The Wilburton senior said he loves going out onto the field and competing for his school and hometown. He said he soaks up every moment each time he takes to the gridiron.
"It's the atmosphere," Runkle said. "There's nothing like the atmosphere of a Friday night football game."
Runkle began playing football as a young age, but said he's had to work hard to get to where he is today. He said the turn of his ninth grade year is when things really started to click for him as he began his high school career.
"In middle school, I wasn't very good," Runkle said. "So, freshman year was probably when it started becoming my favorite sport."
Now, he and the Diggers are preparing to face off against opponents in Class 2A-6 — a slate which Runkle said is no easy task as they'll battle against Antlers, Idabel, Hugo, Eufaula, Hartshorne, Atoka, and Valliant.
"It's a very hard district," he said.
When he's not playing sports, Runkle said he still enjoys staying active. He said he can usually be found hanging out with his friends or at his favorite body of water with a fishing pole, spending a day in nature.
"I try to be outside as much as I can," Runkle said.
After school, Runkle has dreams of playing college football while also learning the field of sports medicine. That way, he said he doesn't have to give up a life in athletics — just transition into a new role.
"I'm trying to stick with sports," Runkle said with a smile.
Although his high school journey isn't over yet, Runkle said he had several people to thank for being some of his biggest supporters and influences over the years. He said they've been by his side through everything, and he's grateful to have them there to guide him.
"My mom and my coaches," Runkle said. "And just my whole family in general."
And as he wraps up his final year to don Digger purple, Runkle said the thing that has kept him motivated and going for so long has been giving his all for something he's passionate about. And it's with that attitude that he said the next generation of athletes can be successful out on the field.
"Love the game, never stop," Runkle said. "And play as hard as you can."
Contact Derek Hatridge at email@example.com.