BROKEN ARROW — Norman High’s perfect record faded at the hands of 6A-I’s defending state champions on Friday.
NHS fell 35-13 to Broken Arrow in its first district road trip of the season. But the Tigers’ attitude didn’t reflect a team too down on itself following a 22-point loss.
“That's just football,” NHS linebacker Cole Thompson said. “Not everything is going to go the way you want it to go. You just gotta play.”
The frustration was still there for NHS (4-1, 1-1 District 6A-I-1), which put together as good of a start as it could ask for in its first district road test.
Broken Arrow (4-1, 2-0 District 6A-I-1) picked up one yard on its first two possessions and turned the ball over on downs on its third offensive series.
Meanwhile, the NHS offense struck first with a 64-yard, 10-play drive late in the first quarter to go up 7-0. The touchdown came via senior Cade Horton from six yards to junior receiver Jaden Bray.
“I thought we had a great week of practice,” NHS coach Rocky Martin said. “I thought we started the game great. I thought we prepared well. They didn't do anything that we didn't see on film or wasn't expecting from them.”
Broken Arrow running back Kejuan Tolbert would get the home Tigers on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter on an 11-yard run. It then snuck in another touchdown before halftime — a 9-yard carry from Sanchez Banks — to get ahead 14-7.
Broken Arrow received the ball to open the third quarter and continued to move offensively with ease.
Tolbert, who rushed for 148 yards on 24 carries, ran in another touchdown to cap an 8-play, 65-yard drive that lasted three-and-a-half minutes.
Broken Arrow scored two more times in its victory — a 50-yard touchdown from Jake Raines to Isaiah Keller and a 15-yard Raines pass to Tory Dillard — which both came in the fourth quarter.
NHS wasn’t without chances to narrow the gap.
Broken Arrow's Banks fumbled inside the red zone when NHS was down 21-7. Powered by a few nice runs from Horton and Joe Willie, NHS drove down to the Broken Arrow 15-yard line on its ensuing possession.
The drive came up empty, however, when the Tigers unsuccessfully tried a 37-yard field goal on fourth and 12.
NHS ended its two-quarter scoring drought, though, midway through the final period when Horton found Edric Lambert for a seven-yard touchdown. NHS couldn't convert a two-point try or recover the ensuing onside kick.
Horton ultimately completed 11-of-27 passing attempts for 146 yards in the loss. Bray was his leading receiver with 84 yards on four catches — all of which came in the first half. And Willie posted 156 yards on 28 carries.
NHS wasn't gashed by Broken Arrow. It was outgained 380-347 and picked up one less first down than Broken Arrow.
Martin ultimately didn’t seem too upset with his team's showing, nor did he think Broken Arrow’s margin of victory told the complete story.
“The score doesn't say really how close it was,” Martin said, “I thought there were a number of things — we got behind the chains a couple times on offense, they forced us to punt in a number of situations and we played [defensively] on a shorter field.
“But I thought the effort was really good and hats off to Broken Arrow. That's a solid football team. There's a reason why they were state champs. Overall, I'm pleased with our efforts.”
NHS returns home next Thursday for a 7 p.m. district game against Edmond Memorial.