The Norman Transcript

March 7, 2014

Tigers again walk tight-rope in opening win

By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript

MUSTANG — Of course, it was another one-goal victory. It wouldn’t be right for a Norman High boys team coached by the ageless Gordon Drummond to open a season any differently.

So, the Tigers are right on schedule?

“It was a good outing,” Drummond said after NHS stopped Mustang 2-1. “I always like to think that we get better during the season.”

And the Tigers will have their chances and soon. Tonight, while Tulsa Union visits North for the Timberwolves boys’ and girls’ season openers, the NHS girls will open their season by hosting Westmoore. Also, the NHS boys will enjoy the rare privilege of playing two games in two nights.

Also, the Crosstown Clash, back at Oklahoma’s John Crain Field, is only four days away.

At Bronco Stadium, playing on the football team’s artificial surface, the Tigers and Broncos were in mid-season form, at least in terms of physical play, with a few yellow cards issued and NHS getting flagged for 12 violations and Mustang 14.

The difference in the game was a goal three Tigers played a part in, coming just 3:12 into the second half when Theo Ostas controlled and then crossed near the right end line, only to have Travis Crane allow the ball to go past him and to the feet of Matt Hockett.

Hockett had space and time to put the ball past Mustang keeper Colton Hadlock.

That actually put the Tigers up 2-0, and it was a cushion they wound up needing after Colton Haskin beat NHS keeper Austin Earley with 28:56 remaining.

The Tigers struck first, 15:16 before the half, when Haydn Jones, who seemed to be in the middle of everything for the Tigers, played a beautiful through-ball around a defender where Ostas could get it and knock it home.

It turned out easier than that after Hadlock, amongst the body traffic about 20 feet in front of the net, lost track of the ball. After Ostas reached it, all he had to do was fire into an empty net.

The only thing the Tigers might have had more of were goals and strong chances. They spent most of the game threatening the Bronco defense, yet Hadlock still only had to make four saves — including a couple of big ones — to keep the Tigers limited to two tallies.

“I feel like we played well. We possessed the ball well,” Jones said. “We didn’t put away all the chances we could. We didn’t get all the easy chances we wanted, but the few that we did get, we put them away.”

Perhaps, any win’s a good win, especially, perhaps, when it doesn’t come so easy.

“Some things weren’t working for us that were working for us in the beginning,” Hockett said. “But I think that’s kind of a good sign, that we were willing to push through it and work hard and, eventually, get the second goal and hold off Mustang. They were playing super hard and aggressively.”

Clay Horning

Follow me @clayhorning

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.