NORMAN — Noble is on the verge of accomplishing something it hasn’t done in five years. It’s been that long since the Bears made the playoffs, and they’ve been trying to get back to the postseason ever since.
Things hit a low point in 2009, when Noble went just 1-9, but coach Steve Barrett returned to the school the next season after several years away and has worked since then to turn the program around.
It’s taken three years of work, but the Bears (5-4, 3-3) are finally in a position to make that happen. All they have to do to secure the final playoff spot in District 5A-3 is travel to Shawnee (4-5, 3-3) tonight and return home with a win.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been in a Week 10 game that meant something,” Barrett said. “It’s a nice feeling.”
Part of what makes being in this position even better is that the senior class at Noble has worked hard, without much success to show for it, for three years, Barrett said.
“It’s been a long process to get here,” he said. “For a few years there was no positive feedback. But now we can get back to being a winning program. I’m proud of this senior class.”
In order for Noble to complete its goal, they’ll have to contain a Shawnee offense that has scored 88 points in the last two weeks. To do that, the Bears will look to control the clock with their running game on offense and stop drives early on defense. Barrett also looks to turnovers to play a large role.
“We need to play physical and we can’t turn it over,” he said. “If we can do all that, we have a real good shot.”
Noble will nearly be at full strength for the game, though the Bears will be without junior safety Cory Jennings, who is out with a shoulder injury.