NORMAN — One of the biggest questions entering Thursday night’s Crosstown Clash was how well Norman North quarterback David Cornwell would perform. The Alabama commit missed last week’s scrimmage with an injured ankle, an injury that limited him in practice in the days leading up to the Clash.
Consider that question answered.
Cornwell was plenty mobile on Thursday, as he was forced into it by relentless Norman High pressure, but Cornwell also eluded tackles and turned the ball upfield himself several times.
“His ankle looked fine to me, and he made some big plays tonight,” coach Wade Standley said. “We’ve got a whole bunch of guys on this time that are fighters.”
Hockett impressive: NHS’ kicker Matt Hockett is considered one of the top prospects in the state at his position, and he showed why on Thursday.
The senior was perfect on kickoffs in the game, sending every one into the end zone for a touchback. He also pinned North inside its own 10-yard line on a first-half punt and connected on a 28-yard field goal.
Quarterbacks kicking: Norman North clearly missed Redford Jones, the star kicker who graduated a year ago.
Without a solid kicking game, the T-Wolves turned to Cornwell at times, who would quick-kick the ball out of the shotgun formation. Cornwell averaged more than 40 yards on his four punts, which was more successful than when the T-Wolves used a traditional punting formation, which they did three times.
Those struggles allowed NHS, which rode senior Matt Hockett in its own kicking game, to completely flip the field on North and gave the Tigers favorable field position several times.
But even the Tigers got into the quick-kick action, using quarterback Jakcob Dean to punt the ball several times.
Tigers’ line dominates: Much of the reason Cornwell spent so much time running on Thursday was because the Tigers’ defensive line forced him to. After a slow start, the unit spent most of the game behind the line of scrimmage creating havoc for the Timberwolves.
The line was supposed to be a strength for NHS this year, and they didn’t disappoint. They recorded nine sacks on the night while harassing Cornwell throughout. That helped contribute to the T-Wolves’ amassing just 74 rushing yards on the night, with most of those coming on two long plays.
Standley, Feexico receive awards: Norman North coach Wade Standley was named coach of the year for North after leading the T-Wolves to the Class 6A state title game a season ago. Sonny Feexico, an assistant coach for NHS and the head track coach at the school, received the same honor for the Tigers.
Follow me @Chosler88