By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — While the rest of the Tigers and Timberwolves continue to spend time away from the game pitch, the NHS boys are about to be very busy, getting in three games — including a couple of doozies — before district play begins next week.
The Tigers, 1-1 with a victory over Mustang and a shootout loss to Norman North, are at the Bronco Cup today, Friday and Saturday back in Mustang. And while they always face reasonable competition in their annual trip to the tourney, this time it’s off the charts.
At 6:45 p.m. today, it’s No. 6 NHS taking on recently elevated No. 1 Jenks.
The Trojans have the top spot, oddly, despite taking a 2-1 loss opening night to No. 2 Edmond North, which remains unbeaten. Norman North is ranked No. 3.
Friday, NHS meets Guymon at 2 p.m. and Saturday, at noon, the Tigers meet No. 11 Owasso, which may be sneaking up on the poll-voting coaches, having outscored Sapulpa and Metro Christian 20-3 in previous two games.
“Generally,” NHS coach Gordon Drummond said, “we have one tough game and one that we should do well in, and this time we will have two very tough games.”
The Tigers, Drummond said, are excited for the opportunity. The players, just like their coach, feel they played very well against Norman North on March 11 at Oklahoma’s John Crain Field, yet they’ve had to sit around waiting for a chance to prove how good they are in a victory.
It won’t come easy today, but should the Tigers get it, they’ll certainly have made their point. Perhaps the first of several points.
“It will tell us a great deal about who we are,” Drummond said. “We play Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and then we turn around and play Edmond North, the defending state champion. If we can get through that part of our schedule, then we’ll know that we’re on the right track.”
The most important of the whole group is Tuesday’s tussle with the defending Class 6A champs. If the Tigers want to stay off the North pitch the second week of the playoffs, they probably need to find a way to win District 6A-1 and that probably means running the district table.
The Bronco Cup, then, is a chance for NHS to announce its presence to the state and to get better as district play looms.
For instance, one way the Tigers proved themselves against North was playing strong defense.
“But if you play good defense,” Drummond said, “it’s where do you play it on the field?”
Drummond wants to turn great deep defense into counter opportunities. Also, he wants to play great defense near the top of his formation, sparing the uncertainty of an opposing team controlling the ball scant distances from the Tiger net.
Against some terrific competition this week at Mustang, the Tigers will have those opportunities.
Follow me @clayhorning
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