NORMAN — There’s more than just bragging rights between two of the better teams in the west on the line tonight when Norman High hosts Edmond Santa Fe. There’s also the matter of a district championship.
The winner of tonight’s game will control its own destiny as far as the District 6A-4 title is concerned, while the loser will be in a battle to lock up second place and a home playoff game.
The seventh-ranked Tigers (6-1, 4-0) believe they have what it takes to upset No. 6 Edmond Santa Fe (6-1, 4-0). But beating the Wolves is a tall order. Santa Fe has weapons on both sides of the ball, but it starts under center with quarterback Justice Hansen.
Hansen, who accounted for seven touchdowns in last week’s rout of Lawton, is a big and bruising quarterback. He’s as dangerous scrambling as he is in the pocket, where he threw four touchdown passes against the Wolverines, a team many thought would challenge for the title of best in the west.
“He could go duck hunting with a pocket full of rocks,” NHS coach Greg Nation said of Hansen. “He’s very good at making people miss when he’s got the ball.”
Hansen leads an offense that has only once failed to score at least 41 points this season. That came in Week 3, when the Wolves managed just 13 points against rival Edmond North, which had been ranked as highly as No. 1 by some polls before a decisive loss to Norman North last week.
Since then, Santa Fe has shown why it was considered a state title contender entering the season. The Wolves have big district wins against Southmoore and Lawton and are big favorites in every game after tonight, making tonight’s contest a probable make-or-break game for the district title, which as it stands now is a two-way race between NHS and Santa Fe.
For the Tigers to win, the most important thing they’ll have to do is overcome Santa Fe’s speed all across the field.
“There’s a lot of team speed all over the place there,” Nation said. “We can’t afford any breakdowns, on defense or special teams. If they get one step on us we’re in trouble.”
It’s a message the Tigers, riding a six-game winning streak after last week’s victory over Southmoore, have taken to heart.
“Last week’s game was critical for us and it brings a lot of momentum into this game,” senior Skylar Calhoun said. “We know how explosive their offense is, and we have to be able to stop them.”
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com