NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Oklahoma All-State Football 2018: Gaining confidence key for Putnam North's Will Taylor

Putnam North linebacker Will Taylor was tired of not being taken seriously.

The early stages of his high school playing days at Putnam North, Taylor said not even the marching band wanted to come watch the Panthers play.

"We would hear them laughing on the sideline," he said. "We needed something to kind of bring us all together."

After winning a combined six games his first three seasons, Taylor helped lead a Putnam North renaissance as a senior. Leading a stingy defense and helping Putnam North make the playoffs with an 8-2 regular season.

Taylor, who has been selected to The Oklahoman's All-State team, also saw the passion come back for Panther football within the school.

"That was one of the coolest things," Taylor said. "Knowing everyone was coming out and supporting you and just being together. It gave us something to play for."

Taylor, a Missouri State signee, racked up 132 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions from his linebacker spot on defense, helping Putnam North limit opposing offenses to 21 points per game. Taylor also scored five touchdowns on offense, rushing for more three touchdowns while catching two others.

While winning was fun and helping establish the proper work ethic in the locker room felt great, seeing fans return to the stands might be the thing he's most proud of.

Putnam North established a jersey exchange program this season. The Friday morning before each game, the football players would roam the hall and seek out a teacher, administrator, counselor or even a school cafeteria worker to give their jersey too.

The belief being if they have a player to be invested in, they will make a point of coming to the and cheering.

"Seeing people in the stands with those jerseys on gives you chills," Taylor said. "I think I'll remember that forever.

"We are all Panthers, we are doing this for them."

Related Photos
<p>Putnam North linebacker Will Taylor is a member of The Oklahoman's 106th All-State team. [Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman]</p>

Putnam North linebacker Will Taylor is a member of The Oklahoman's 106th All-State team. [Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-93aeb9982ab551f71f032d06884f2b70.jpg" alt="Photo - Putnam North linebacker Will Taylor is a member of The Oklahoman's 106th All-State team. [Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman] " title=" Putnam North linebacker Will Taylor is a member of The Oklahoman's 106th All-State team. [Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Putnam North linebacker Will Taylor is a member of The Oklahoman's 106th All-State team. [Photo by Doug Hoke, The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Adam Kemp

Adam Kemp is a news and health reporter for The Oklahoman. He grew up in Oklahoma City before attending Oklahoma State University. Read more ›

Comments