NORMAN — Jakcob Dean provided the highlights, and the rest of the Tigers followed suit.
At Friday’s Top of the World Classic at Harve Collins Field, Norman High’s senior quarterback was spectacular for the second straight week, drawing more attention to himself less than a week before the Tigers will meet Norman North to open the season.
Facing third-and-long on two consecutive possessions, Dean eluded defenders and weaved his way upfield. It was the same type of highlight-reel plays he displayed against Enid a week ago, and ones Tiger fans are quickly becoming accustomed to.
His talents were on full display Friday as the Tigers squared off against Choctaw, Deer Creek, McAlester, Sapulpa, Shawnee, Stillwater and Noble at the event. Dean bailed out his team on tough downs by making plays with his feet — and more than anything his creativity — when the Tigers took on a handful of opponents at the Top of the World Classic.
The scrimmage’s unique format had teams squaring off against one another in “drive-to-score” situations rather than the longer, two-quarter games that other teams use in scrimmages.
“We were a little sloppy tonight, but we were better than we were last week,” Dean said. “We have to be more mentally prepared. We were better tonight, but we’re not satisfied.”
While Dean made the biggest plays Friday, he wasn’t the only one to make an impact. The Tigers had contributions across the field, notably by an offensive line that cleared a path as well as a defensive line that bottled up the run well.
The Tigers did run into some troubles, especially on their first drive. After having just one play in last week’s scrimmage go for negative yardage, they did struggle at times to break the corner against some of the faster defenses. And a number of dropped balls were an issue that backed them up in the first place.
But after that drive, the Tigers settled down and began making plays. Overall, it was a step forward for a team coming off a trip to the second round of the playoffs a season ago. Any doubts about Dean’s ability to lead the Tigers against stiff competition were dispelled, as the former receiver made several impressive throws on the day, proving he could do more than just run.
But in coach Greg Nation’s triple-option offense, running is what he will be doing most, and he didn’t disappoint. Nor did the Tigers’ stable of running backs, who were able to achieve consistent success.
“Nobody ever plays the perfect game,” coach Greg Nation said. “We’ve got to be more mentally tough. As a coach you have aspirations of scoring on every play and stopping them after three plays, but that’s just not the reality, especially this time of year. I’m proud of the way they came back and played tonight.”
Follow me @Chosler88