NORMAN — David Cornwell took the snap, looked at one receiver and quickly turned to his right to see the other side of the field and check his second option.
And Cade Parker sacked him.
A defensive struggle early and an offensive explosion late, the one constant at Thursday night’s Crosstown Clash was Norman High’s defensive line, which lived in Norman North’s backfield all night long on the way to a 38-31 NHS victory. It was a brutally effective way to slow down North’s star quarterback, who was sacked nine times in his Timberwolves’ debut.
Parker, a 6-foot-1, 230-pound defensive end, led the way. He set a career mark with five sacks and made his living meeting T-Wolves behind the line.
“Our goal tonight was to get seven sacks, and we were going to do anything necessary to reach that goal,” Parker said. “We watched film all week and knew what they liked to run, and adjusted to that.”
Those adjustments were enough to slow but not stop the T-Wolves who, after scoring first in the game, played most of the way from behind. But every time NHS broke a big play — and there were several of them — North had an answer. That is, all the way up until the game’s final minute, when the T-Wolves failed to recover an onside kick and NHS secured a first down to seal the victory.
“I found out tonight we have a bunch of young guys who are fighters,” Standley said. “We have 18 new starters, and they made enough plays to have a chance to win it at the end.”
While North’s young squad showed flashes, the night belonged to the Tigers and the running game coach Greg Nation has developed since he came to Norman. There were some questions entering the season about whether or not they would be able to replace last year’s backfield of trio of Imond Robinson, A’erion Hines and Zach Long, but all those questions were answered on Thursday night.