NORMAN — Yes, soccer has been a big deal in Norman for a long time. Yes, Tigers and Timberwolves have regularly played for state titles and may well do it again here in a couple of weeks. And still, today’s a good one to take it all in.
On the first night of the playoffs, the NHS girls are at home against Mustang, the North girls are welcoming Southmoore, ditto for the NHS and North boys, who are playing host to Bishop McGuinness and Yukon.
If each bunch of Tigers and T-Wolves wins, and the regular season says they should, they’ll meet each other in Friday’s Class 6A quarterfinal round on North’s pitch.
If the North girls, ranked fourth, take state, it will be their first crown. If the ninth-ranked NHS girls do it, it will be their eighth state championship. If the fifth-ranked North boys do it, it will be their fifth. If the fourth-ranked NHS boys do it, it will be their fifth.
Soccer only became a varsity sport in 1985. North only opened its doors in the fall of 1997.
“I try not to think about it because it’s mind boggling how the program has grown and how successful soccer has been in Norman,” NHS boys coach Gordon Drummond said. “And not just in terms of quantity, but also in terms of quality, as Norman High and Norman North have both been able to win state championships.”
The program Drummond speaks is not NHS, nor North, but the Norman Youth Soccer Association he and Bob Shalhope, a fellow University of Oklahoma history professor, formed in 1976.
If you love soccer, thank them. If you despise it, blame them. They got the ball rolling right into the net.
“We wanted something for our sons to play and we thought we’d have enough people in Norman go along with us,” Drummond said. “We thought we’d have enough for three or four teams and that was about it.”