NORMAN — With the playoff picture quickly clearing itself up, the stakes for both Norman North and Norman High are exceedingly clear this week — win, or suffer a major setback to a season-long goal.
Things are dire for NHS. The Tigers (3-4, 1-3) must beat Edmond Santa Fe (5-2, 3-1) or fall completely out of the playoff picture. With their backs up against the wall, the Tigers must run the table from here on out to return to the postseason.
“We’ll come out and play,” NHS coach Greg Nation said. “We’re not down. It’s a bad situation, but we’re going to go out and play and do what we can do.”
North, on the other hand, has almost certainly already punched its playoff ticket. All that remains for the Timberwolves (5-2, 4-0) is a
possible district title. And while they’ve taken several major steps toward defending that title, including wins over Edmond North and Yukon, there is one major hurdle left.
That hurdle is Putnam City North, a team that has caught fire in the past month and is a surprising 3-1 District 6A-3 after struggling to an 0-4 start. That makes Friday’s contest, which a month ago looked liked it would end up an easy win for North, into a marquee game that will carry heavy playoff implications.
At 4-0 in district play, North controls its own destiny but can ill afford a slip-up. While a win would leave North with a comfortable lead in the district and two games against teams with a combined 3-11 record, a loss would throw things into chaos.
If the Panthers upset the T-Wolves on Friday and then both teams, along with Edmond North, win out there will be a three-way tie at 6-1 at the top of the district, with all three teams trading victories. That would leave the title up to the tiebreaker of district points, something that may not favor North since two of their wins are by just three points rather than the maximum of 15 that any team can earn in a game. District points, determined by margin of victory or defeat and totaled through all district games, are the tiebreaker used when head-to-head matchups can’t be taken into account.
It’s a complicated picture that the T-Wolves can avoid by beating Putnam City North on Friday.
Westmoore (6-1, 3-1): With games against Bixby and Jenks out of the way, Westmoore likely needs to win just one more game to launch itself into the playoffs. Depending on the next two weeks, a Week 10 matchup against Broken Arrow could be a contest for second place in District 6A-2.
Southmoore (4-3, 2-2): Playing in Class 6A’s deepest district in District 6A-4, Southmoore could realistically finish as high as second or out of the playoffs entirely. The SaberCats have two of their final three games against the two teams they’re directly competing with in Edmond Memorial and Mustang.
Moore (1-6, 1-3): Despite some narrow losses and early-season optimism, the Lions face an uphill battle to advance to the postseason with games against Norman North and Edmond North remaining on the schedule.
Noble (2-5, 0-4): Decimated by injuries, the Bears will need to win out and receive plenty of help to advance to the postseason. Mathematically still eligible for the postseason, the Bears must win out.
(3-4, 1-2): Playing in an unbalanced District 3A-1, Little Axe is still very much alive in the playoff picture. Friday’s game against Marlow (4-3, 1-3) will be decisive for the Indians, and while running the table would guarantee a postseason berth, it’s also that possible that winning two of their final three will be enough.
Washington (6-1, 4-0): The only question at this point for Washington is if the Warriors will earn the district championship they’re after. The toughest game left on the schedule is a Week 10 matchup with Lindsay that could amount to a district title game.
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