NORMAN — It’s easy for something to get lost in the shuffle this time of year, when the winter seasons collide with spring seasons on both high school and college fields, diamonds and pitches.
Even soccer, in a town that loves its soccer.
Ready to catch up?
Well, tonight marks the season opener for the Norman High boys when Moore visits Gordon Drummond Field, the fourth game of the season for the Norman High girls and a rare Tuesday off for Norman North’s girls and defending Class 6A state champion boys (though the Timberwolves should be in for a telling matchup Friday night when Broken Arrow visits).
Also, mark your calendar.
This season marks the second straight in which Crosstown Clash soccer will be played at Oklahoma’s John Crain Field. A year ago the four programs filled the stadium and this year’s game is near: a week from today.
The first boys and girls coaches’ polls have yet to be released by OKRankings.com, though it’s a reasonable bet the Norman North boys will begin the season on top, the North girls will be in the middle of the top 10, the NHS girls will at least be flirting with the top 10 and the NHS boys will be in the second half of the top 10.
NHS boys’ coach Gordon Drummond wants his team to maintain its defensive identity, but believes it has more overall talent in recent seasons. Still, in departing senior Andres Kenney, the Tigers may have the biggest hole to fill.
For the North boys, somebody’s going to have to replace all those goals Brandon Little Axe scored last season. Of course, like all seasons for Timberwolves, it’s not a question of capability, only one of execution.
The North girls took a big step last season, looking like one of the best teams in the state for a long time before bowing out in the Class 6A playoffs’ round of eight. This season should be about coach Don Rother’s team trying to go further, perhaps even two rounds further.
Though North will likely be favored in both rounds of the Clash, the NHS girls are in a similar spot as their Clash rivals. Last season they stabilized and improved and this season’s about coming back still better and taking the season deeper.
At a season-opening Arkansas tournament last weekend, the NHS girls fell to Bentonville (Ark) 3-0 before beating (Fayetteville) St. Mary’s 3-0 and (Tulsa) Booker T. Washington 4-2.
Of course, anything can happen.
Everybody’s probably capable of winning it all. That’s the way soccer’s been in this town for a long time. This season shouldn’t be any different.
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