The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

August 14, 2013

Tigers reload in the backfield, still running strong

NORMAN — Norman High has made postseason inroads since coach Greg Nation’s tenure doing something that many teams aspire to but few accomplish — dominating the run game. The benefits of a strong ground game are plenty. It allows the Tigers to control the clock and wears down defenses as the game goes on, all while allowing NHS’ own defense to rest.

Most impressively, the Tigers have consistently managed to reload in the backfield, even after losing skilled backs. Last season, the Tigers were expected to possibly experience a dropoff after feature back Donovan Roberts graduated and went to Arkansas. But instead the Tigers reloaded with Imond Robinson and A’erion Hines, riding a powerful option attack to the second round of the playoffs.

Now, with Robinson and Hines both gone, some are again expecting the Tigers to take a step back. But Nation is confident the Tigers have a fresh round of new faces to fill the void and keep the running game chugging along, even while replacing graduated quarterback Zach Long.

Instrumental to that prediction is Bryce Burkhart, a junior who has moved around

several positions on offense including fullback. While Nation hasn’t decided exactly how he will utilize Burkhart, he is confident that he will help the Tigers this season.

“We’re expecting great things from him,” Nation said. “He’s been flipping around a lot, but for a kid who’s has had so much thrown at him, he’s handled it really well.”

Also filling in the void in the backfield will be a combination of Darius Manning, Sayvon Foley and David Flenory, a stable of backs joining senior Dupree Young to give the Tigers plenty of depth in their trademark option offense.

 

Klein anchors raw North defense: Last year, Norman North’s ferocious defense was key to the team’s run to the state title game.

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