NORMAN — When Broken Arrows visits Norman North for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs, there is one matchup that will likely define the game.
That comes between the North offense, which boasts the second-highest scoring offense in Class 6A, against the Broken Arrow defense, which allowed the fewest points of any team in Class 6A this season.
Led by a diverse offensive attack that can take to the ground behind traditional running back Bryan Payne or turn to Jordan Evans and the Wildcat or move the ball through air with quarterback Peyton Gavras, North (10-1) has found ways to put the ball in the endzone.
On the other hand, Broken Arrow (8-3) is adept at preventing opposing offenses from doing so. The Tigers have had success holding high-scoring opponents back, giving up just 19 points to Owasso, 24 to Jenks and 13 to Westmoore in the final week of the regular season. Broken Arrow allowed just six points to Sand Springs, its first-round playoff opponent.
“We’re still after that gold ball, and we can do better,” Payne said after North put 21 points on the board in last week’s first-round victory over Southmoore.
Broken Arrow offense improving: After several tough outings early in the season, Broken Arrow has found its rhythm over the last month of the season behind quarterback Coleman Key.
The Tigers have averaged 36 points a game over their last five contests, with Key a big part of that success. The junior signal-caller, whose brother Kason led Owasso to playoff victories over Norman High the last two years, showed why in a first-round victory over Sand Springs. Key finished 16-of-23 for 179 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Broken Arrow’s 35-6 win, but he will face a tough test from the Timberwolves defense, which has been strong at forcing turnovers this season.
“We know they’re a good team, and we’ve just got to stay focused,” North linebacker Jaxon Uhles said. “If we can do that we can stay on track and we’ll be ready.”
Owasso riding win streak: Owasso enters Friday’s matchup with Norman High riding an eight-game winning streak, including arguably the most impressive single victory in Class 6A.
In the toughest three-game stretch of the season for anyone, Owasso met Broken Arrow in the season opener, Jenks two weeks after that and Tulsa Union in the district opener. After narrow losses in the first two games, the Rams finally broke through against No. 1-ranked Union on Sept. 21, pulling out a 38-35 victory for their second-straight regular season win over Union.
That victory kickstarted Owasso’s season, and the Rams haven’t lost since, downing seven straight opponents by at least 19 points, including a 49-3 win over Sapulpa in the first round of the playoffs.
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com