NORMAN — While the quarterbacks under center will draw much of the attention when Norman High meets Norman North at 7:30 p.m. Thursday for the Crosstown Clash, their partners in the backfield may have flown largely under the radar.
And while the accolades sent the way of quarterbacks Jakcob Dean and David Cornwell are well-deserved, with the talent the running backs across Norman possess, that may change soon after the opening kickoff.
It may be a stretch to call the backs unknowns, but to many fans they are certainly unfamiliar.
North sophomore Quan Hogan showed flashes of his potential last season in limited appearances, while the running back corps at Norman High has been completely revamped.
That group of backs — Dupree Young, Darius Manning, Bryce Burkhart, David Flenory and Sayvon Foley — will all see time in the Tigers’ triple-option offense. It’s a group marked by its speed that will surely find some open field behind a big offensive line.
“We’re fortunate to have the guys we have,” coach Greg Nation said. “We’re a clock-consuming team, and we know that. It’s nice that we’ve got a lot of options back there.”
While NHS will run the ball by committee, North is more likely to ride its budding star in the backfield.
Hogan’s time last season was limited, but he made a memorable impact when he appeared in a pivotal district game against Edmond North. Pinned deep in their own territory, the T-Wolves ran the option and pitched to Hogan, who sidestepped one tackler and then outraced everyone down the field for a 97-yard touchdown run. He finished that game with more than 100 yards on the ground but had limited appearances as the T-Wolves relied on their pass-heavy offense on the way to the state championship game.
Last summer was good to Hogan. He grew leaner in the offseason and attended several large summer camps, including one at Tulsa that netted him an early offer from the Golden Hurricanes.
He brought that momentum into the preseason, and was effective for North in both scrimmages. With the T-Wolves against loaded in the passing game with Cornwell under center, Hogan offers a balance they haven’t been able to achieve since coach Wade Standley arrived two years ago.
And that’s a luxury Standley is grateful to have.
“I’ve been really impressed with his work ethic,” Standley said. “He’s had a great preseason, but he’s not satisfied with where he’s at. He’s still focused on getting better.”
Follow me @Chosler88