NORMAN — While Friday’s 45-42 victory over Yukon was huge for Norman North and may have the Timberwolves on track to repeat as District 6A-3 champions, it’s one win that may come with a cost.
Both quarterback David Cornwell and tight end Tyler Sipe went out with injuries during the game, and both could be serious.
The scarier one came when Sipe went down. The tight end laid prone on the ground for nearly 30 minutes before being carted off the field and transferred to the hospital with an apparent neck injury.
The good news is that Sipe had full control of his extremities after the injury, and flashed a thumbs-up to the team as he left the field. That’s a good sign for Sipe because it means it’s likely not a severe spinal cord injury, the most devastating injury any football player could face because they can cause paralysis. Coach Wade Standley described Sipe’s trip to the hospital as precautionary, though there is no timetable for his return.
Likewise, Cornwell’s fate won’t be known for a day or two. The Alabama commit will have tests run and coaches should know more in the coming days.
The senior went down with a right knee injury after trying to secure a loose ball on a blocked punt. Cornwell, who handles the punting duties for the Timberwolves out of the quick kick formation, had to pick up a low snap off the ground to kick it in the second quarter on Friday, and the Millers knocked the ball away, leading to Cornwell’s desperate scramble to recover it.
Warriors roll after delay: While most high school games Friday were able to finish before heavy rains moved in, Washington’s game against Hobart never got out of the first half.
The Warriors were leading when the game was stopped, but the Warriors weren’t able to finish things out on Friday, as the game was delayed until Saturday afternoon.
Regardless, when both teams returned to the field Washington returned to form, and the Warriors rolled to a 28-3 victory and remain unbeaten in district play.
Junior back sees field: With Norman High running back Dupree Young having fumbling problems on Friday against Edmond Memorial, coaches turned to junior back Bryce Burkhart to handle the load in the second half.
The junior has seen limited playing time this season, but with the two backs in front of him out of the game, he got his chance to make an impact, and he impressed in that role.
Burkhart finished with just 22 yards rushing on six carries, but he reeled off several impressive runs, one coming for 11 yards and another for eight.
Manning expected to return: Norman High running back Darius Manning has missed the last two weeks with an injury, and his presence has been missed by the Tigers.
But the junior is expected to be back for next week’s game against Choctaw. NHS coach Greg Nation said Manning, who has made several long touchdown plays in just three games this season, is improving and should be back on the field for Friday’s game.
Webb’s injury not serious: Another potentially troubling development for the Tigers came in Friday’s game when defensive tackle Nick Webb went out with an injury.
The junior left in the second quarter and didn’t play at all in the second half, but coach John Emerson said he should be ready to go soon.
“He got banged up, but we don’t think it was too serious,” he said. “Webb should be back next week.”
Looking ahead: With the injuries at Norman North, the Timberwolves get a reprieve this week when US Grant, a team that traditionally finishes near the bottom of the district, visits Norman. But that doesn’t mean the T-Wolves can sleep on U.S. Grant, which is 0-5 on the season falling big to Midwest City on Friday.
Still, to handicap North’s chances at repeating as District 6A-3 champions, the game to look to is an Oct. 15 contest with Edmond North. The Huskies are the only other team in district play and the only team with a winning record left on North’s schedule.
“Every week is just another step on the ladder,” coach Wade Standley said of his team’s path toward the title. “We’re going to take it one game at a time.”
Another team preparing for a big game next week is No. 5 Westmoore (5-0), which squares off against the No. 1 team in the state in Jenks.
Must-win scenario: While North is chasing a district title, NHS is simply chasing a postseason berth.
After a 0-2 start in District 6A-4 and the toughest part of the schedule still remaining, the Tigers face a must-win game at Choctaw on Friday.
Choctaw has traditionally not challenged NHS, but the team gave No. 4 Lawton everything it could handle on Friday before falling 37-29 in a surprisingly tight game. That increases the probability that Friday’s contest is pivotal for both teams in the playoff race. A third straight loss would mean that NHS would likely have to win out to make the postseason.
Gametime against Choctaw changed: Norman High’s game against Choctaw was originally scheduled to be played on Thursday, but officials at Choctaw were forced to push the game to Friday.
The field was unavailable for Thursday, so despite it being Fall Break for NHS students, the game will be played at 7 p.m. Friday at Choctaw.
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