NORMAN — Noble is on the verge of accomplishing something it hasn’t done in five years. It’s been that long since the Bears made the playoffs, and they’ve been trying to get back to the postseason ever since.
Things hit a low point in 2009, when Noble went just 1-9, but coach Steve Barrett returned to the school the next season after several years away and has worked since then to turn the program around.
It’s taken three years of work, but the Bears (5-4, 3-3) are finally in a position to make that happen. All they have to do to secure the final playoff spot in District 5A-3 is travel to Shawnee (4-5, 3-3) tonight and return home with a win.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been in a Week 10 game that meant something,” Barrett said. “It’s a nice feeling.”
Part of what makes being in this position even better is that the senior class at Noble has worked hard, without much success to show for it, for three years, Barrett said.
“It’s been a long process to get here,” he said. “For a few years there was no positive feedback. But now we can get back to being a winning program. I’m proud of this senior class.”
In order for Noble to complete its goal, they’ll have to contain a Shawnee offense that has scored 88 points in the last two weeks. To do that, the Bears will look to control the clock with their running game on offense and stop drives early on defense. Barrett also looks to turnovers to play a large role.
“We need to play physical and we can’t turn it over,” he said. “If we can do all that, we have a real good shot.”
Noble will nearly be at full strength for the game, though the Bears will be without junior safety Cory Jennings, who is out with a shoulder injury.
Other teams fighting for position: Noble isn’t the only team with a lot riding on the outcome of tonight’s games.
In Class 6A, Westmoore will battle Broken Arrow with a district finish and home playoff game on the line, while Southmoore needs a win just to make the postseason after a couple of disappointing weeks.
The other team with something to play for is Washington, which hosts Lindsay in a game that will decide which school finishes in second place in District 2A-3.
“We know what we have to do,” Washington center Tyler Lenhart said. “Nothing beats a playoff game at home. We want one last home game here on this field.”
North staying healthy: After fighting the injury bug all season, Norman North is heading into Week 10 as healthy as it has been all season.
“For Week 10, we’re doing pretty well, just the usual nicks and bruises on the guys we have,” coach Wade Standley said.
That doesn’t include Josh Bean or Erwin Frazier, two players who suffered season-ending injuries earlier in the year. But it’s still a step in the right direction for the T-Wolves, who have had a number of players miss time with injury.
Sealey back on field for Lawton:Lawton High quarterback Dallas Sealey has faced his share of tough luck this season. He had a shoulder injury that was misdiagnosed and forced him to miss extended time, and recently an inflamed spider bite kept him off the field for even longer.
The Wolverines, who visit NHS tonight, struggled without him, losing two in a row a few weeks back and dropping what was previously-considered a top team in the state to the bottom of the playoff picture.
Sealey returned last week against Mustang, although Lawton lost by a field goal, and didn’t show any lingering effects from the shoulder injury while finishing with three touchdowns.
Norman High coaches expect Sealey to be on the field and at full strength tonight in a must-win game for the Wolverines. NHS has already secured second place in District 6A-4.
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com