Team DeForest Wins Competition Day Title

STILLWATER - One of the highlights of the final week of the offseason program before spring football begins next Monday is the championship contest on Competition Day. Team DeForest, headed by associate head coach and special teams coordinator Joe DeForest, won the title Tuesday by defeating Team Brewer, coached by co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer, by the score of 45-31.

It was quite a turnaround for DeForest as his team finished dead last last February. Brewer had a chance to make it two in a row as his team won it last year.

The secret is in the drafting as player captains draft eight teams at the end of January and the competition begins on the day before signing day in February. The teams go head to head in five different agility drills (two that are used at the NFL Combine), tug of war, tractor tire roll, and weighted sled pull. The players really get into it as there are four different matches going on each week as part of a tournament that leads to the champion.

"Coach (Rob) Glass and Coach (Mike) Gundy have done a great job by bringing a unique event that puts excitement in offseason conditioning," said DeForest. "The players love this and really get into it. It is a major part of the offseason program and builds team camraderie and spirit.

"I have to give our captain Andre Sexton a lot of credit because he drafted the team and obviously knew what he was doing," said DeForest.

Team DeForest did have a little bit of an advantage as Team Brewer had only eight healthy players. Running backs Keith Toston and Taylor Sokolosky were both out with injuries. Toston, who tore his ACL and had reconstructive knee surgery, will participate in non-contact drills this spring but was held out of this competition. Sokolosky will miss all of the spring after breaking his leg on the first competition day of the offseason.

"They still had a lot of speed," said DeForest of Team Brewer. "They were the fastest team we saw with Jacob Lacey, Spud (Kendall Hunter), and Will (William) Cole. We knew we had to do something to compete with that speed."

It was brawn that took the early advantage as the two teams started on the tug of war event. After Brewer's crew won the first of the three rounds. The DeForest four-man teams of Beau Johnson, Andre Sexton, Justin Gent and Lucien Antoine followed by Bo Bowling, Bryce Hood, Ben Bailey and Jeray Chatham won the next two. Each tug counts four points.

"That was great for us," said DeForest. "We started on the tug of war and won two of three giving us a four-point lead, and we never gave up the lead."

The speedy duo of junior college All-Americans Beau Johnson (RB) and Bo Bowling (QB/RB) won the first two heats in the hoops agility drill. Team Brewer came back to tie the event at 4-4 at the finish.

Bo Bowling, who will play wide receiver and return kicks at OSU after transfering from NEO A&M, was upset on the second bags drill by Jacob Lacey. Bowling has been winning virtually every event he was involved in throughout the competition days. A big effort by sophomore center Grant Garner who beat Lucien Antoine allowed Team Brewer to tie the second bags agility drill 4-4, but as the two teams went to the power events Team DeForest led 25-19.

On the sled pull, an event where players harness up and pull a weighted sled, winners included Andre Sexton and offensive guard Steven Denning for Team DeForest and offensive guard Andrew Lawrence twice for Team Brewer. There were a pair of really spirited heats as Beau Johnson gutted it out against an ultra-game William Cole, and linebacker Justin Gent did the same against center Grant Garner to help Team DeForest.

Team DeForest won the sled competition 5-3, but give credit to Stillwater walk-on fullback Bryant Ward who edged junior college transfer safety Lucien Antoine, who is ripped with muscles.

Team DeForest put it away at the tire roll as Steven Denning, Jeray Chatham and Justin Gent were all impressive flipping the tractor tires over and over covering 30 yards. Team DeForest won the event 7-1 to take a commanding 42-23 lead. Team Brewer gained ground on the last agility drills but had to settle for second.

"The players were excited and talking about it all week," said DeForest. "It's a great event because they really do get into it and give great effort."

There is a prize for the winners and runner-up, usually an extra pair of workout shorts or warmup. The real prize is the pride in winning, and bragging rights apply. Starting immediately after the event Tuesday everybody is back on the same team and now heading directly for spring football next week.

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