NORMAN — Norman North soccer coach Geo Claros walked into his locker room about 10 minutes after his Timberwolves knocked off Southmoore 3-0 Tuesday night and immediately began talking about what came next: a little something called the Crosstown Clash.
That’s the payoff from the first night of the Class 6A soccer playoffs. Given the Norman High boys’ victory over Westmoore — also by a 3-0 count — that’s what the town has to look forward to Friday night on the North pitch.
“It’s just another hill we’ve got to climb,” Claros said after exiting the locker room. “It seems like we’re always meeting them in this spot. We know it’s going to be a difficult game.”
Maybe even more difficult than the first 36 1/2 minutes against the SaberCats.
It wasn’t that the second-ranked T-Wolves (14-0) lacked effort, more like their bodies and brains weren’t on the same page. Also, they were fortunate to be locked in a 0-0 tie, because the first great chance of the game belonged to Southmoore’s Martin Romero, who sent a free kick from just outside the penalty box along the ground and all but out of reach of North keeper Alex Precilla
“The first game’s always the toughest,” Claros said.
But after an Adam Cooper corner kick and a mass of bodies in front of the SaberCat net failed to either score a goal or clear the ball, it bounced to Mauro Cichero. He had no room to do anything with it, but swing his left foot while standing flat-footed on his right. Nevertheless, the ball had pace and direction and North led 1-0 3:36 before the half.
“I got lucky,” said Cichero, who has made luck a habit, pushing his season goal count to 17.
After that, it was a breeze for the T-Wolves.