NORMAN — Norman North isn’t the only team in the area dealing with injury problems.
Coach Steve Barrett has been forced to implement sweeping changes at Noble after the Bears were “annihilated” by the injury bug over the past two weeks.
Seven players on the Bears’ roster have suffered concussions in the past month, and that’s just the beginning of Noble’s troubles. Tailback Nick Wahl is out with a separated shoulder, and two of the Bears’ starting offensive linemen are also out.
“We’ve had to change a bunch,” Barrett said. “We can’t rely on the power run game anymore, so we’ve had to change things to just try and get our players the ball in open space.”
The injuries couldn’t have come at much worse a time. The Bears wrap up a brutal three-week stretch to open district play with a game against Bishop Kelley on Friday, one that Noble could use to give its playoff hopes a boost.
“This game against Kelley and then the Shawnee game, those are going to be big,” Barrett said. “But with the injuries we’ve had and the changes we’ve had to make, we can’t look past anybody right now.”
Young expected to start: Norman High’s feature back Dupree Young found himself in the unfamiliar position of watching from the sideline in the Tigers’ loss to Edmond Memorial last week.
The reason was a spate of fumbles, a problem the entire Tigers team faced last week. NHS put the ball on the ground six times, allowing Edmond Memorial to pull away for the win.
But Young has been diligently working this week to protect the ball, and coach Greg Nation said he still trusts his back.
“We still have faith in him,” Nation said. “He has been focused this week on maintaining possession, and he’s done a good job so far. We pride ourselves on not turning the ball over, and we have to get better at that.”
Manning’s fate uncertain: Norman High faces a must-win game at Choctaw this week, and the Tigers may be without running back Darius Manning for the third straight week.
Manning, who has partnered with Dupree Young to be the one-two punch in the Tigers’ backfield, will find out Friday morning if he’s able to suit up. If he’s unable to go, the Tigers will turn to David Flenory, a sophomore who had some impressive runs last week.
Several T-Wolves to return from injury: While quarterback David Cornwell isn’t expected to start tonight’s game against U.S. Grant, several other Timberwolves who had been on the injury list are.
That includes Tyler Sipe, the senior tight end who left last week’s game with a scary injury. But it turned out to be nothing more serious than a strained neck muscle, and Sipe has been practicing. Also expected to return this week are wide receiver Jake Brewer and defensive back Chris Briley. Linebacker Trace Magee, however, is not yet ready to return to the field.
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