The Norman Transcript

October 14, 2013

Silver lining: Injury simultaneously sets North back and forward

By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — There’s still no official word on the status of Norman North quarterback and Alabama commit David Cornwell, but in the meantime the Timberwolves are looking toward a future with junior John Kolar under center.

The Cornwells haven’t disclosed the exact nature of the injury to one of the country’s top quarterback prospects, but it appeared that the senior hurt his right knee after having his punt blocked two weeks ago against Yukon. He spent the rest of the night on crutches, didn’t practice and wasn’t in the stadium for North’s 54-0 win over US Grant on Thursday.

Attempts to reach Cornwell have been unsuccessful, and privacy laws prevent coaches from disclosing the injury without permission. Kolar, who keyed North’s comeback victory over Yukon after entering the game in the second half and led the T-Wolves to the rout last week, told the Transcript he’s preparing for North’s contest Friday at Edmond North as if he were starting.

The game pits two teams undefeated in District 6A-3 against each other. With a win, North will have completed the three toughest games on its district schedule without a loss, setting the Timberwolves up to repeat as district champs.

Manning still out: Norman High’s coaches hoped to have running back Darius Manning back for Friday’s game against Choctaw, but those hopes were dashed before kickoff.

Manning, who has been out several weeks, has tag-teamed with Dupree Young in the Tigers’ backfield this season to lead the triple-option attack. Without him, the Tigers have struggled, losing three straight before picking up a win against Choctaw.

Coach Greg Nation said Manning is day-to-day, and could be ready to play against Southmoore on Friday.

Around the state: Week 7 is filled with a number of Class 6A clashes that could alter the playoff race and shake up the top 10.

The most closely-watched game will undoubtedly be Jenks at Westmoore. Several coaches in the area believe Jenks’ team this season is the most talented the Trojans have fielded in years. With the major east-side schools already marked off the schedule, Westmoore is the biggest remaining obstacle in the regular season, and Westmoore has been tabbed as the West’s best chance to defeat Jenks before the postseason.

The other marquee game on the slate is Lawton-Edmond Santa Fe, one where the Wolverines will enjoy home-field advantage. Ranked No. 3 and No. 6 respectively in the Transcript’s top 10, the clash of two high-power offenses features the only two west-side teams besides Westmoore widely expected to threaten the East’s top teams in the playoffs.

Norman High and Norman North both have huge games. The Tigers face a must-win against Southmoore if they want to make a playoff run, while the Timberwolves can take a huge step toward securing their second straight District 6A-3 title if they can defeat Edmond North.

Moore is also sticking around the playoff hunt. With Yukon’s loss to Edmond North last week, the Lions can actually move a game up on Yukon and several other teams if they can defeat the Millers.

Timberwolves defense showing improvement: One of the keys to Friday’s game against Edmond North is how well the Norman North defense performs. And that’s an area where the Timberwolves are confident they’re making progress.

Though they’ve given up at least 38 points in five of their six games, North has shown improvement in crucial moments in both of its two biggest wins to date, victories over Midwest City and Yukon.

That evolution continued last week.

While it came against an overmatched US Grant squad, the Timberwolves were still pleased with the units’ performance, which included an interception return for a touchdown by Zac Musgrove, the kind of momentum-changing play that the T-Wolves haven’t produced many of this season.

“Those guys have gotten better every week, and that’s what they’ll need to do again,” coach Wade Standley said. “We know this is a big game coming up. We’ve got to have a good week of practice and get better.”

Corbin Hosler

Follow me @Chosler88