NORMAN — The last time we saw Will Saxon at the top of the sports section, he’d just played his last game of basketball at Norman High.
He’d helped lead an overachieving bunch of Tigers to within an eyelash of the 2011 state tournament.
In many ways, NHS had no business being a game away from Class 6A’s final eight, but because they had a terrific coach in Jeff McCullough, and a guy like Saxon and others who played a lot like him, defending state champ Putnam City was lucky to get out of the gym that day with a last-minute victory.
As for Matt Ward, he wasn’t going to let a broken collarbone keep him out of the Class 6A state championship soccer game.
The day North beat Union at Newcastle, three Mays ago, Ward filled in, covered ground as fast as he could — which was always really fast — while clutching one arm close to his chest.
Though he was probably the Timberwolves’ fiercest competitor, he’d already chosen not to play college soccer and attend Oklahoma as a simple student, instead. So there was no not playing.
They’re two guys, Saxon and Ward, who’ve had some good days in this town’s sports pages. And, guess what, they’re back.
Saxon’s actually playing in his third straight Westwood Invitational. Meanwhile, Ward’s playing in his first golf tournament, ever.
Together, their presence tells you plenty about the tournament, why people play and probably why it’s got another 39 years to look forward to after this one.
“My dad and uncle (Larry and Terry) have played in it for 20-something years and they kind of got me into it,” Saxon said. “I’ve played in it the last three years. I like to compete, but it’s more fun.”