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McAlester determined to finish the job this season in Class 5A

Return of key standouts, led by Oklahoma commit Erik McCarty, have Buffaloes thinking gold.

By Ross Lovelace | Photo by Karen Schwartz 

Over the next few weeks, SBLive Oklahoma will break down high school football teams from the four largest classifications in the state in anticipation of the upcoming 2022 season. Here's our look at the McAlester Buffaloes.


Forrest Mazey, 4th season (34-15 at McAlester)


Overall record: 13-1

District record: 7-0, 1st in District 5A-3

Playoffs: Lost to Collinsville, 42-35, in 5A championship game


RB/FS/ATH Erik McCarty, 6-3, 200, Sr.

McCarty has a solid case as the best player in the state of Oklahoma. He can impact the game both ways and take over on both sides of the ball. The rising senior is committed to the Oklahoma Sooners.

Last season, McCarty rushed for an incredible 2,005 yards and 38 touchdowns, averaging 9.9 yards per carry. He’s listed as an athlete on his recruiting profile and could excel at many different positions on the football field. Defensively, McCarty patrols the field as a safety, and that could be where he projects at the next level.

He recorded 104 tackles, six tackles for loss, five pass break-ups and an interception. At 6-foot-3, McCarty can play a multitude of positions, ranging from linebacker to the second level.

While his position at the next level remains a mystery, there’s no doubt that McCarty will be one of the best running backs in the country this fall, having totaled 72 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons.

RB/OLB Dakota Moton, 6-0, 170, Sr.

Moton is an underrated player on this Buffaloes squad and is an incredibly talented runner.

The rising senior has had to split carries with a 2,000 yard running back for two seasons now in McCarty, and still finds a way to carve out impressive production of his own. Last season, Moton accounted for 847 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, giving the Buffaloes a great change of pace in the backfield.

Moton is a star on the defensive side of the football, too, where he can line up at nearly any position. He’s fast off the edge and excels as a linebacker and a pass rusher, and has great hands, too. He had an electric interception return for a touchdown in McAlester’s win against Tulsa Will Rogers.

DL Garrett Shumway, 5-11, 270, Sr.

Shumway will set the tone for the defense up front after a productive junior campaign. The rising senior recorded 80 tackles and an eye-opening 15 tackles for loss.

Shumway seems to be in the backfield on every single play, and is tough for any offensive lineman to block. He’s incredibly strong and uses that to bully his opposition. Look for Shumway to have a big year leading McAlester’s defense.

QB/LB Lance Stone, 6-2, 220, Jr.

Stone could be the missing piece to the puzzle for this McAlester team and will get a shot early. If the Buffaloes try multiple options at quarterback, expect Stone to take advantage when his number is called.

He has the potential to take the Buffaloes' offense to new heights with his strong arm and athleticism. Stone also plays linebacker, which is a rarity for a quarterback. He’s not afraid of contact and is a hard-hitter across the middle.

He can also beat teams on the ground when manning the quarterback spot. Stone could see his recruitment really heat up as the Buffaloes start reeling in the wins.


McAlester has its eyes set on a gold ball this season. They are stacked across the board and headlined by potentially the best player in the state in Erik McCarty.

The Buffaloes fell just short last season, losing in the 5A championship game, but bring back many key pieces. The football dynasty is starting to be established at McAlester, as winning is becoming a yearly thing. The Buffaloes are 24-4 over the past two seasons, and a state championship seems like the next step.

While the Buffaloes certainly won’t be flying under the radar, they will have as good a chance as anyone to hoist the gold ball at the end of the season. 

McAlester kicks off the season at home on Aug. 26 against Broken Bow. Then on Sept. 3, the Buffaloes travel to Shreveport, La., where they will play Scotlandville (La.) in the Battle on the Border at Independence Stadium.


"The experience of getting to the championship game is a plus for our approach to this season. We still need to develop depth in places as we will have several new faces stepping into the heat of battle." - Forrest Mazey