BIXBY — One thing already clear about Norman High football this year?
The Tigers have already inspired a band of true believers.
At the never-ending extravaganza that was Friday night’s six-team scrimmagepalooza at Spartan Stadium, the Tigers finally had their chance to play something resembling a real football game when they returned from Bixby’s soccer pitch to meet Enid for a 20-minute tussle.
Off to the side, in the visiting bleachers was an NHS student section that might have been 50 or 60 strong.
As luck would have it — or maybe it had nothing to do with luck — the Tigers turned around and played like a squad that deserved its following.
Beginning at the 40, fullback Bryce Burkhart carried for 8 yards, before quarterback Jakcob Dean carried twice, gaining 9 each time. Then it was Burkhart for a yard, before Dean hit Collin Kappell for 7, before Burkhart lost a yard, before defensive end Cade Parker, facing third-and-4, bulldozed into the end zone from 7.
Everybody touched him, but he never broke stride.
“That kid may be the best athlete on our team,” Tiger coach Greg Nation said.
Enid needed three plays to tie it up.
The Tigers didn’t mow through the Plainsmen defense on their next drive, but maybe it was better that way, because beating the odds tends to be twice as sweet.
Facing third-and-8 from the 38, Dean picked his way through the Enid defense for 17 yards. Then, facing third-and-13 from the 24, Dean hit tight end Cal Shone in the end zone.
When Enid took its last chance, facing third-and-long with time running out, Logan Hill broke up a pass in the end zone and the Tigers had their victory.
It’s hard to know how any of it will translate come the Crosstown Clash and beyond, but it’s easy to understand the Tigers will not be short of options.