NORMAN — Entering a must-win game at Edmond Santa Fe on Friday, the injury picture is still as murky as ever for Norman High. But for one of the first times this season, it’s not just the Tigers who are wondering whether one of their best players will take the field.
Edmond Santa Fe’s stud quarterback Justice Hansen is questionable for Friday’s contest. Sixth-ranked Edmond Santa Fe (5-2, 4-1), dropped a game to No. 3 Lawton last week after Hansen, an Oklahoma commit, went down with what looked like a nasty ankle injury.
Coaches initially thought he may have fractured a bone, but tests over the weekend showed that wasn’t the case. Hansen has tentatively returned to the practice field and may try to take the field against the Tigers (3-4, 1-3) but even if he does, there’s no guarantee for the Wolves that he’ll be anywhere close to 100 percent.
If Hansen is unable to go, things become much simpler for the Tigers’ defense. Backup Keaton Toree, a sophomore who was effective against the Wolverine’s last week but isn’t nearly as dynamic as Hansen.
Manning day-to-day: One familiar name on the injury report is NHS’ Darius Manning. The running back made an unexpected appearance last week after initially being ruled out, and performed very well in limited snaps. He is still day-to-day and his playing time on Friday will be determined on how fully recovered he is.
The Tigers’ offense moved much more efficiently a week ago with Manning back in the lineup. He provides a one-two punch with Dupree Young that the Tigers desperately need for the tough schedule remaining in front of them.
Putnam City North on a roll: In the last major test on the way to a District 6A-3 title, Norman North will square off this week against Putnam City North, a team that turned a corner a month ago and is making noise in the district race.
The Panthers struggled to an 0-4 start, including the school’s first-ever loss to Putnam City West. But Putnam City North has turned it around in the past three weeks, putting together an impressive win over Midwest City along with convincing victories over Moore and U.S. Grant.
That leaves the Panthers at 3-1 in district play, and if they’re able to upset North they would force a three-way tie atop the district along with Edmond North.
All news positive for Warriors: There’s no doubt things are going right in Washington.
First, Brock Harmon was recognized as the official record-holder for most pick-sixes in a single game.
The feat, which he accomplished several weeks ago by returning three interceptions for touchdowns against Hinton, was officially recognized by the National Federation of State High School Associations last week.
Washington also has a true bye week waiting in the wings.
Due to Riverside dropping out of district play shortly before the beginning of the season, the Warriors have no Week 9 opponent. Because Riverside is technically still a part of the district even though it’s not competing, the game still exists on the schedule in the form of a bye rather than simply an off-week, as some unbalanced districts have. It’s a quirk that the Warriors are using to their advantage.
While Washington (6-1, 4-0) is more talented than its Week 8 opponent Mangum (1-6, 1-4), the temptation could be to look ahead. A Week 10 matchup with Lindsay (5-2, 4-0) looks to amount to a district championship, but because of the off-week the Warriors will have ample time to prepare for the game.
“It’s a district bye, so we won’t be playing anybody next week,” coach Brad Beller said. “We’ll have two full weeks to get healthy and get ready for Lindsay.”
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