NORMAN — Norman North struck with a blazing start. Norman High battled back from what seemed like a knockout punch with an equally gritty performance of its own.
Just another spectacular chapter in the Crosstown Clash boys soccer series, this one being a Class 6A quarterfinal match Friday night. In the end, it was North staying unbeaten and coming out on the winning end of a 4-2 contest that left many at the North soccer complex feeling like they’d just run the pitch for 80 minutes themselves.
“If they were on the other side of the bracket, maybe we’re playing them in a state final,” North coach Geo Claros said of the Tigers.
“That was two very, very good teams just going for it,” said NHS skipper Gordon Drummond.
Carson Cacciatore finished off a hat trick with a goal in the closing seconds and Mauro Cichero added a score for North. Cacciatore’s first two goals came in a fast and furious start that saw two scores in the first seven minutes and four in the first 30.
All this from two teams that played 80 minutes of scoreless soccer two months ago in their regular season meeting at the University of Oklahoma, eventually won in a shootout by North.
Cacciatore started the scoring just five minutes in, collecting a ball in front from teammate Sage Moorer after NHS blocked two North shots and punching it home for a 1-0 lead.
But the Tigers needed a mere 34 seconds to strike back, with Theodore Ostas getting behind the North defense off a long ball played not long after the kickoff. His tally tied the game before many fans had even settled into their seats. The ones that weren’t standing the whole game, that is.
North kept the chances coming and took the lead in the 27th minute when Moore hustled down a ball near the goal line, with the ball eventually coming out of a scramble to Cichero, who blasted it just through NHS keeper Austin Earley.