NORMAN — Cade Parker untangled himself from Putnam City West quarterback Steve Stalling, stood up straight and faced the Norman High crowd. With all eyes on him, he gave a triumphant salute just before being mobbed by his teammates. It was the most obvious display of emotion the senior showed all night.
Any why not? After recording his 19th sack of the season — a new NHS record — in a 48-0 victory over Putnam City West, the senior was entitled to a bit of celebration.
“I just thought, ‘finally,’” Parker said after the game. “It’s what I’ve been after since I got here. It feels great.”
Parker’s record-setting sack wasn’t his only highlight-reel play. He also found his way into the backfield quick enough in the first quarter to recover a bad snap in the end zone, putting the Tigers (5-4, 3-3) on the board after the offense failed to convert a fourth down deep in Patriots territory.
That play was just the start of a dominant night for the Tigers’ defense. They forced five fumbles, intercepted the ball twice and sacked the Patriots six times. Putnam City West (2-7, 0-6) managed just 93 yards on the night, while the Tigers’ defense scored three times, with Sayvon Foley returning an interception for a score and Josh McGill adding another defense touchdown.
The numbers were gaudy, but they didn’t tell the whole story.
“This is the first goose-egg we’ve put up since I’ve been here,” Parker said. “There’s no better way to go out on Senior Night.”
While the defense dominated, the offense was also effective, even with several starters missing. Levi Fredrickson earned his first career start in place of the injured Jakcob Dean and was impressive in his first performance. The junior finished with 80 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns while adding 49 yards and another score on the ground.
“Talk about a kid being ready to come in when his number is called,” coach Greg Nation said of Fredrickson. “Jakcob was a game-time decision for us, and he probably could’ve played if he had to, but Levi came in and did a great job commanding the offense.”
NHS did receive a boost in the form of Dupree Young, who started Friday’s game despite concerns he wouldn’t take the field. Coaches said that while he was effective — 117 yards on 19 carries — he wasn’t yet back to 100 percent.
Next up for NHS is a showdown with No. 3 Lawton. The undefeated Wolverines locked up the district championship with a blowout win over Mustang on Friday. The Tigers are likely to earn a postseason trip with a victory over Lawton, while a loss will end their season.
Follow me @Chosler88