Names of offensive linemen too often go unnoticed or mentioned in the outcome of the high school football game. For Tate Whittmore, that’s just fine as long as the Tahlequah Tigers get the win.
“Playing in the offensive line demands sacrifice. You use your talents to create and protect the opportunity for your teammates to reach the endzone,” explained the starting left guard for Tahlequah. “To be good at this position requires a lot of footwork plus eye-hand coordination to get the job done effectively.”
In addition to the winning side of the scoreboard, the 6-3, 295 pound senior get his reward by initiating contact with the opponent.
“When you get a pancake, that definitely gets me fired up ready to put another one on my plate on the next play.”
Whittmore defines himself as hard working and clever yet couldn’t contain his smile when acknowledging another trait important to his everyday approach to life.
“I like being funny, making people laugh. You never know when something like that can change the day for someone else. You know, bring a ray of sunshine to someone’s day.”
Brad Gilbert, head coach of the Tigers, commends the lead by example efforts of the player who wears jersey number-59.
“So much of what Tate does is unseen. Everyday, he goes above and beyond to do the little things to make himself a better player and our team stronger and more successful,” Gilbert said with appreciation. “He doesn’t say a lot, Tate just does his job always trying to do whatever he’s asked.”
According to Gilbert, the “Whittmore Way” creates a positive influence, both on and off the field.
“His teammates and his classmates see his example by doing things in a positive way, doing it the right way the first time. Our world today needs more positive influence like that. His game changer efforts and influence ripple throughout the locker room and within our student body.”
Known to his friends as “Tater-Chip or Tater Salad”, the two-year starter up front credits the influence of his dad for his approach to every challenge.
“My dad (Mark) taught me the importance of hard work. I’ve learned from his commitment to my family and me that nothing of real meaning is going to be given to you. You have to work for it if you want to achieve your goals and find success, on and off the field.”
Away from football on “Tate Time”, he enjoys welding and putting things together noting the need for practice to secure the right angles just like when making the next block. He also enjoys taking time to eat.
“I like a big plate of barbecue… the bigger the better. Be sure and don’t forget the baked beans and potatoes.”
With graduation day coming next May, Tate Whittmore has one desire when examining the footprint he’ll leave behind.
“I hope to leave a legacy as the person who always worked hard for my teammates. And, that I was the guy that when you’re having a hard time, that you would come talk to me and together let’s find a way happiness.”