HORNING: So many memories to choose from on Tigers' finest night of football in years

Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

Norman High's Cade Horton passes the ball during the Tigers' game against Edmond Santa Fe, Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, at Harve Collins Field. On a night he was very good throughout, Horton also made two of the biggest plays of the season to keep drives going that led to the touchdown passes that ultimately beat the Wolves.

Pick your memory.

Pick your memory at Harve Collins Field the night the Tigers finally earned their way back to the playoffs. And when you do, don’t just remember the memory you’ve chosen, because there was so much to choose from.

Here are a few.

The game over, Norman High a 31-20 victor over Edmond Santa Fe, the two teams in their handshake lines and the NHS student section, kind of like it wasn’t sure if it could or if it should, finally decided, yes, do it, and rushed the field.

Through the seasons, it’s a student section that’s hung tough in the worst of times. Now the times are good again.

Their team has won four of five and three straight to close the regular season. Their team is moving on to Week 11 for the first time in six seasons.

The student section “Crazies” — as they call themselves on Twitter — belonged on the field, so there they were.

Or maybe senior lineman Wyatt Weston sneaking behind NHS coach Rocky Martin and picking him up in a reverse bearhug. It looked like the first half of a back-to-back suplex, but all he wanted to do was hug his coach.

Great large moments always produce great small moments and that was one of them.

Or how about this one?

Cade Horton took a knee.

He took a knee!

So many years of frustration. So many consecutive one-loss seasons. So many games the defense was terrific but the offense couldn’t do anything and maybe a couple the other way around, yet no more.

Anyway, it was all there at Harve Collins Field Friday and it all came down to the least exciting play in football, yet maybe the most satisfying.

Taking a knee.

To win.

Of course, none of those have a thing to do with the action on the field and the Tigers made so many plays.

So many.

Santa Fe only had about a minute to go 90 yards and they would have done it all in one play if 5-7, 150-pound junior linebacker Cedric Seals hadn’t taken just the right angle, galloping with a cornerback’s speed to force Tyler Travis out of bounds after 38 yards. If Seals hadn’t done everything right, Travis would have gone 90.

Or the last play of the first half, NHS’ Gunnar Luna’s second pick. He caught it at the 20 and returned it 77 yards to the 3. The clock meant only reaching the end zone mattered and he didn’t quite make it. Still, what a play.

Or the second-half kick, the one Andrew Young returned 95 yards to paydirt, putting NHS up for the first time. Young hadn’t done that all season long. Heck, he almost did in the first half. The Tigers happily took it in the second.

Still, if you want to remember a play somebody made, remember two that Horton made, because they weren’t just fantastic, but the kind of plays that make you choose an adjective to place between the “fan” and the “tastic.”

The first, third-and-17 at his own 35, trailing 20-17, the fourth quarter about half over, and Horton had nobody to throw to as he began roll right, unaware of a Santa Fe pass rusher very nearly reaching him, and the ball, from behind.

Yet, that rusher never got there and Horton released a strike to Tyler Crump along the sideline for a pickup of 23 yards.

If that play’s not made, the Tigers don’t win. It may have been the unlikeliest play of the season, yet luck had nothing to do with it. Horton just made it and Crump caught it and two plays later, facing first-and-20 from the 49, Horton found Jonah Paden wide open for 51 yards to go up 24-20.

So there was the throw to Crump. Don’t put the throw to Paden on the list because it was easy by comparison. Well, not that throw to Paden.

Horton’s other amazing feat came facing third-and-8 at his own 29, with time enough for the Wolves to win it if they could just force a Tiger punt.

Once again Horton ran to his right. Once again, he appeared entirely out of options and once again he fired down the right sideline. Watching it from the Tiger bench, it appeared he might have just been throwing it away to avoid a sack.

He wasn’t.

He had Paden, who would have caught it for a huge gain had his defender not interfered. But he interfered. First down Tigers.

Five plays later, Paden was wide open again for a 27-yard strike that sealed the win.

The TDs were not the magic acts, but the magic acts made them possible and Horton made them.

So pick one.

Just don’t forget the rest.

There were so many.

It was glorious.

The Tigers are still going.

You’ve got to love it.

“It’s huge,” said Martin, the coach who has the Tigers back in the playoffs..

That and so much more.