By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — When David Cornwell tweaked his ankle almost two weeks ago in a preseason scrimmage at Edmond Santa Fe, the Norman North quarterback and Alabama commit thought he’d be back on the field in just two days. That estimate proved overly generous, and Cornwell didn’t even suit up for the Timberwolves’ scrimmage Thursday against Southmoore.
But Cornwell does plan to be on the field when the T-Wolves meet Norman High at 7:30 on Thursday at Memorial Stadium, ignoring any suggestions he may not be ready.
And signs seem to be pointing that way. While coach Wade Standley wouldn’t commit to anything after Cornwell sat out in Thursday’s 7-0 scrimmage victory over the SaberCats, he did say that Cornwell was a game-day decision for that scrimmage, indicating that Cornwell could have played if he had needed to.
After sporting a noticeable limp following the initial injury, which occurred on a goal-line play late in the scrimmage, Cornwell was noticeably improved by Thursday, and threw well in warm-ups before the scrimmage.
Still, the lost live-action experience with a receiving corps still adjusting to Cornwell’s bullet passes could hurt the T-Wolves.
Not that Cornwell plans to do much differently. He’ll still scramble and fight upfield for yardage rather than just throwing it away. But there will be one difference.
“I’ll definitely be taping my ankles from now on,” he said.
Basquine continues to improve: One T-Wolves receiver who has seemed to sync up with Cornwell has been senior Nick Basquine.
After breaking out in the first scrimmage, Basquine was impressive even with back-up quarterback John Kolar in against Southmoore. He made several grabs in just four series on the field, including pulling in the only score of the game on a short pass from Kolar.
Replacing talented receivers Corbin Cleveland and Jake Higginbotham, North entered the offseason without a clear plan to fill in the gaps. But Basquine has filled the role so far, and Standley expects that to continue.
“I hope he can become that guy for us, and I think he can,” Standley said.
Dean’s knack for big plays
The scouting report for the Timberwolves as they prepare for the Tigers can be summed up in a few words: contain Jakcob Dean.
Which isn’t an easy task, as the senior proved again Friday at the Top of the World Classic. After dazzling teammates and coaches alike with his ability to turn routine plays into big games, he was it again on Friday.
Twice, facing long third-down plays, Dean tucked the ball and ran for more than 10 yards to pick up a new set of downs. As Edmond Santa Fe quarterback Justice Hansen proved two weeks ago, that mobility is a skill that could give North’s young unit fits.
What may be most difficult to defend is how unpredictable Dean is.
“I don’t care what down it is, with the offensive line we have I feel like we can get 10 yards on the ground on any play, no matter who’s running,” he said. “I know it will be a dogfight with North, but with the guys we have up front I’ll take us against anyone.”
Crosstown Clash not only Week 1 draw: While Norman High, Norman North and the Crosstown Clash may be the only talk in town this week, the annual rivalry game taking place on Thursday night is far from the only big game in Week 1 of the 2013 season.
There are a host of high-profile games this week, as high schools across the state kick off the football season. One of the best is undoubtedly Midwest City-Edmond Santa Fe. The Bombers — which compete in the same district as North — were for years one of the top teams in Class 6A until an unexpected drop off the map a year ago. With Edmond Santa Fe’s Justice Hansen, an Oklahoma commit, taking the field, it will be an early test to see if the Bombers are back.
Also on the slate is an east-side showdown between Owasso and Broken Arrow, as well as one-third of the Moore War, with Moore meeting Westmoore.
Jennings capable under center: Noble has improved every year since coach Steve Barrett returned to the sideline three years ago, and the Bears hope to turn that into a playoff berth this season.
With quarterback Dakota Boxwell back for his senior season, hopes began high in Noble before being dashed when a noodling accident knocked Boxwell out of the quarterback spot for the first three weeks of the season.
But as he showed at last week’s Top of the World Classic at Harve Collins Field, Cory Jennings is plenty capable of picking up the slack.
The senior, who will remain a fixture in the backfield even after Boxwell’s return, was effective for the Bears, managing their power run game to some success at the scrimmage.
He’ll get his first chance to lead the team in action when Noble opens the season Friday at rival Tecumseh after losing the Highway 9 Rivalry in overtime a year ago.
Follow me @Chosler88