Just do it again.
There’s nothing easy about the Crosstown Clash, boys soccer edition, be it the regular season or the playoffs. And there’s really nothing easy about it for Norman High.
Every game is close.
Every game is hard fought.
When NHS finally beat Norman North for the first time since 2007 back on March 12, it wasn’t just the Tigers’ first victory over the Timberwolves in six years, but their first victory over their arch-rivals in nine meetings, for NHS and North have also become semi-regular playoff opponents, too.
There are advantages in having won the first one.
“We know we can do it,” NHS’ Matt Tidwell said.
Then, there may be advantages in having not won the first one, too.
“That’s just extra motivation that we’ll take,” North coach Geo Claros said.
NHS coach Gordon Drummond doesn’t look at tonight very differently than he has looked at trying to beat North for more than a decade.
“First of all, it’s going to depend on how we play defense against a team that is offensively loaded,” he said. “Secondly, we have to not simply counter, but be able to possess the ball in the midfield and from there take it into the attack zone. We can’t rely on hitting the ball upfield and hoping something good is going to happen.”
For the Tigers to win again, they’re going to have to beat a much-improved bunch of Timberwolves.
All of North’s losses have come in shootouts and none of them have come since the team arrived home from a three-game trip to the Southern Soccer Shootout in Huntsville, Ala.
“Ever since we’ve come back,” senior North defender Ashton Bray said, “we’re a closer team and everything’s come together on the field.”