NORMAN — Owasso (8-2) has been the one hurdle Norman High (9-2) hasn’t been able to clear in the past two seasons. With the two schools now meeting in the postseason for the third consecutive year, the Tigers already know what they need to do to get over the hump this year - stop the potent Owasso offense.
The Rams enter with an explosive offense yet again, despite graduating several offensive playmakers. The most dangerous of those to the Tigers was wideout Keon Hatcher, who totaled more than 100 receiving yards last season to go along with a score in Owasso’s 45-34 win.
But an even bigger threat to NHS is back on the Rams’ sideline this season. Senior Scottie Prealow, who went for 197 yards and five touchdowns in last year’s game, is back. And the Rams have reloaded at receiver with Cole Neph, who went for 105 yards in Owasso’s first-round playoff victory over Sapulpa.
None of this is new to NHS after watching Owasso total 96 points in the two playoff matchups. And the Tigers hope that knowing is more than half the battle.
“We’ve seen them the last two years, so it’s not a new experience with what they can do,” coach Greg Nation said. “But this group knows they have what it takes.”
Standley worried about points, not yardage:
A quick glance at the box score of last week’s Norman North-Southmoore game shows that the SaberCats outgained the T-Wolves even though North won in convincing fashion. Which may explain why coach Wade Standley didn’t put much stock in the numbers.
“In the end, all that matters is keeping them out of the endzone,” he said. “It’s about keeping them off the board. The yards in between don’t matter.”
Against Southmoore, North gave up 336 total yards but just six points. The Timberwolves did it by stopping the SaberCats on four consecutive fourth downs late in the game.
T-Wolves can’t afford turnovers, penalties:
While North played an overall solid game last week, it wasn’t the T-Wolves’ cleanest victory. North threw two interceptions while amassing 94 penalty yards on 11 flags.
“It’s not something we’re putting a particular focus on this week because it’s something we focus on every week,” Standley said. “There’s always things to clean up and you always focus on taking care of the football.”
Couch returning to full strength:
After limping off the field a week ago in North’s win over Southmoore, senior lineman Preston Couch is expected to return to the field this week.
“He’s been doing better in practice this week,” Standley said. “And everyone else is ready to go.”
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com