NORMAN — There’s been a lot of talk about how deep District 6A-4 is this year, and for good reason.
Four of the top 10 teams in the Transcript’s rankings hail from the loaded division, and it’s anybody’s guess which team will emerge on top a month from now.
But it’s going to be a much easier guessing game after this week. No. 8 Norman High will travel to sixth-ranked Southmoore on Friday to take on a team that is fresh off a 20-17 victory over No. 10 Lawton.
And before the Tigers and SaberCats even take the field, Lawton and seventh-ranked Edmond Santa Fe will have finished their Thursday game.
“You’re going to start to see everything in the district take shape after this week,” NHS coach Greg Nation said. “That makes this a huge game for us.”
NHS entered this week as the top team in the district.
Though tied with Santa Fe at 3-0, the Tigers own the tiebreaker in the form of district points since they have won every game by at least 15 points, the maximum number of district points a team can earn in a week. NHS is +45 in that category, while Santa Fe is at +31.
District points are something that cannot be overlooked, and the tiebreak system played a part in NHS’ postseason positioning a year ago.
For a Tiger team that’s riding a five-game winning streak and has designs on a district title or at least hosting a home game in the playoffs, both beating Southmoore and doing it in style matter.
“This is a big week in the district,” Nation said. “If we win, it could put us alone at the top. Whoever wins this game is going to be sitting really well going forward.”
Of course, that’s not all that’s at stake for the Tigers. There is also the matter of pride, after Southmoore came to Harve Collins Field a year ago and walked away with a 40-23 victory.
That loss is something that hasn’t been far from the mind of anyone at NHS, and it only adds more fuel to an already-pivotal game for the Tigers.
“I think our guys know we put out a poor effort last year, and they came over here and played a good game,” Nation said. “As coaches we don’t even have to bring it up because the kids bring it up all the time.”
With the emotions surrounding the game, the advantage could easily go to the team that comes in the most sharp mentally. Luckily for NHS, that’s an area Nation feels comfortable, relying on a strong senior group to lead the Tigers.
One of those senior leaders is quarterback Zach Long, who has engineered the dominant rushing game the Tigers have ridden to victory over the past month. He knows that Southmoore will be their toughest opponent to date, and said after a Homecoming victory last week that his team will be ready.
“We’ll get back and have a good week of practice and come out ready to play,” he said.
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com