NORMAN — Forecasting prep football success this time of year can be a rough business.
So rough, that Thursday night at Harve Collins Field, as Norman High was knocking off Yukon 38-13 in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs, nobody could remember the last time the Tigers had won such a game.
The 1997 combo team, featuring players from NHS and North, was recalled, but certainly the Tigers had won another one since?
Turns out they did, 10-7 over Putnam City North in 2002, though the point remains the same.
Butch Peters’ Tigers went 9-1 in 2005 and 2006, but fell short come the playoffs. Greg Nation’s Tigers, two years ago, were the surprise of Class 6A. Then they surprised everybody by losing to Owasso in the first round of the playoffs. NHS was supposed to be even better last season, but Owasso advanced through the Tigers again.
Winning playoff games ain’t easy.
But the Tigers made it look pretty easy.
Imond Robinson ran for 234 yards, A’erion Hines ran for 113 and Zach Long ran for 93 on just six carries and, though he completed just three passes, two were touchdowns to Jakcob Dean.
Somewhere in there is a time-honored recipe for postseason pigskin success.
It’s not about being a machine out there. It’s not even about being the better team. That helps, but more is frequently required.
It’s about making plays.
Or, if you want to add one more cliché to the mix. It’s about stepping up and making plays. Against the Millers, the Tigers stepped up and made plays.
Third-and-4 at the Miller 27, and NHS hadn’t scored since their first play from scrimmage, an 80-yard run from Robinson. Long went to pass and found Dean a step in front of his chasers but Long threw it a step beyond Dean.