Andrew Young seems to make everything easier on the Norman High offense.
The senior receiver can take short passes in the flats and parlay those receptions into big yards.
It allows the Tigers to take fewer chances on throws downfield and one of its best playmakers to create for himself.
And to think, Young spent much of this past offseason recovering from a torn meniscus.
The Tiger senior underwent surgery after suffering the tear during an April football camp but was back for the start of NHS’ fall camp.
“He had surgery, he came back," NHS coach Rocky Martin said, “and to me, he looks stronger and faster than he was last year. And usually with a meniscus, they get back pretty quickly and if you take rehab as seriously as Andrew did, you bounce back pretty good and he has.”
Young flashed his talent on the Tigers’ first offensive series against Norman North last Thursday. The senior reeled in a short throw from quarterback Cade Horton and looked on his way to an 85-yard touchdown after getting by a swarm of North defensive backs.
Young had the ball knocked out of his hands and out of bounds on the catch, but made it to North territory for a 45-yard gain.
He made up for it later with his first score of the 2019 season on a similar play from Horton that Young turned into a 58-yard touchdown, which ultimately helped the Tigers’ win 31-24.
He concluded the Thursday game with 198 yards receiving, putting him on track for another 1,000-yard season.
“Anytime the ball is in his hands, he's dangerous,” Martin said. “He runs great routes. He catches the ball well, and then what he does after he catches the ball is pretty special. I think all that goes with his work ethic and how he approached it.”
• On the run: North’s offense showed positive signs against NHS last Thursday, especially under the direction of quarterback Jackson Remualdo.
Remualdo looked more poised as a thrower than he did a year ago and had the Timberwolves close to reclaiming Clash.
“He doesn't panic in the pocket,” Jones said. “A part of that's a credit to our offensive line, I think they improved tremendously. But Jackson understands how to sit in the pocket, and how to continue to keep his eyes vertically down the field, make his reads and move his feet when he feels pressure.”
Remualdo can certainly scramble when he needs to. The junior quarterback picked up 13 yards on the ground on North’s first play of the game and would’ve finished the night with 75 yards rushing had it not been for a few sacks and mishandled snaps.
The mobile element to his game should keep opposing defenses guessing.
“Almost every run play, there's the chance that our quarterback is going to pull the ball and have to run,” Jones said. “And part of that is just understanding and having been a second year in the system and being able to operate our offense.”
• Cleaning up special teams: NHS found itself in an early hole after surrendering a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown to North last week. And the Tigers will face another lethal punt returner in Deer Creek running back Dylan Diaz this Friday.
Diaz returned an 80-yard punt return for a score against Southmoore last week.
Special-teams coverage is an area of concern for the Tigers, who struggled to contain North running back Blaine Martin.
“We let up two punt returns, one for a touchdown and the other one that gave them great field position,” Rocky Martin said. “We've got to clean that up.”