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October 20, 2012

Missed opportunities sting Tigers in hard-fought loss to Wolves for district’s top spot

NORMAN — Norman High had its chances. A partially blocked punt that gave the Tigers the ball at the 15. A fumble recovery at the Edmond Santa Fe 31. A 37-yard field goal try. A near-sack on Santa Fe quarterback Justice Hansen that didn’t quite come fast enough to stop him from throwing a pinpoint touchdown pass.

But the Tigers couldn’t convert those plays, and they couldn’t take advantage of enough of the opportunities they were given. They couldn’t stop Hansen, who made every big throw for No. 6 Edmond Santa Fe, and they couldn’t get a stop in the game’s final minutes to give the offense a shot to win it.

All of which led to Edmond Santa Fe handing the seventh-ranked Tigers their first district loss of the season, 27-21.

The battle of the two teams tied atop District 6A-4 was as heated as advertised, and both squads played well. NHS (6-2, 4-1) showed it was more than capable of playing with Edmond Santa Fe (7-1, 5-0), but after taking a 7-0 lead early in the game behind a beautiful circus catch by Jakcob Dean, the Tigers couldn’t quite get over the hump and were forced to play from behind for the rest of the game after Edmond Santa Fe took a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.

And, while the Tigers made big plays at times, they left points on the board. NHS had three possessions that started inside the Wolves’ 35, but were unable to come up with scores on any of those possessions. It was one of the few negative marks on a Tiger team that looked throughout the game like a team that can challenge anyone in the state.

“I told the team after the game to not be down,” coach Greg Nation said. “That’s a darn good football team we lost to. I’m proud of my kids; they prepared well and played hard; but you just don’t win them all.”

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