NORMAN — The mystery is gone, but will the magic remain?
A year ago both Norman High and Norman North entered the season with more questions than answers. The Tigers were trying to replace Arkansas signee Donovan Roberts and the T-Wolves were still trying to find an identity under second-year coach Wade Standley.
A wild Crosstown Clash left indelible memories, but fans left the field with no idea whether they had just witnessed two playoff contenders duke it out in one of the most memorable Clashes ever or whether they just saw two mediocre teams play a sloppy first game of the season.
Now, we know. We know what Standley has done at North, turning a 3-7 team three years ago into a state runner-up a season ago. We also know how NHS turned out a year ago, with the Tigers seamlessly filling the gap at running back with Imond Robinson and A’erion Hines and advancing past the first round for the first time since coach Greg Nation arrived five years.
More than anything, we know what both teams are capable of. We know that Nation has built a system on Main Street that year after year is able to execute the triple-option offense to near-perfection, with Jakob Dean primed to provide the highlights this year. A few miles up the road, we know North can rebuild with a young group, because the T-Wolves were in the same situation two years ago and wound up in the state title game.
For both programs, the days of “could” are over, and the days of “should” have arrived. And don’t expect that to end any time soon. There is no question, no mystery, about just how good both teams can be under the systems put in place by both coaches.