A seemingly never-ending flow of rain wouldn’t let up on Friday, and neither would either Norman High or Jenks’ offenses.
Despite the conditions, big plays dominated the District 6A-I-1 battle. No. 4-ranked Jenks made more of them, though, at Harve Collins Field.
The Trojans beat the second-ranked Tigers 49-25 during a cold night in Norman.
“I thought we were a little flat at the beginning,” NHS coach Rocky Martin said. “They jumped out on us. They had a big kickoff return, a couple of turnovers early and made a couple of big plays. And we got behind early on.”
Jenks capitalized on NHS’ energy, seizing the district game’s momentum from the first play from scrimmage.
Grant Lohr, a Jenks junior defensive back, picked off Cade Horton’s first passing attempt. The Trojans then leaned on senior Will Cox to push their rushing attack on the ensuing drive.
Cox, who carried the ball three times and caught one pass for eight yards on the series, scored from three yards out to give Jenks the early advantage.
The Tigers immediately responded, however, on their next series.
Horton sped up the middle and outran the Trojan defense for a 69-yard touchdown on the Tigers’ first play of their second offensive drive. The only downside for the Tigers was a missed extra point.
The long touchdown run, though, reflected the type of night Horton was about to enjoy.
“What makes him so special is in any big situation or big time game, that's when he steps up and shines,” Martin said. “And that's what the best do. That's what's great do. That's what Cade's been doing for three years. He works his butt off every play.”
Horton finished with 204 rushing yards and 212 passing yards on 11-of-26 passes.
Although, Cox had his own productive night.
An unrattled Jenks offense needed four plays and 2:03 to score again after Horton’s first touchdown, which came on a four-yard carry by Cox.
Cox fueled another Jenks scoring drive after Horton threw his second interception of the evening.
As the Tigers offense continued to stall, Jenks drove 80 yards to end the first quarter and went ahead 27-6 on a 12-yard Stephen Kittleman pass to Justin Murphy.
NHS’ defense got their first stop early in the second quarter when Jenks went for it on fourth down from the Tiger 15-yard line.
NHS failed to score on the ensuing offensive possession but forced another stop on a Jenks three-and-out.
Horton took advantage of the effort from the Tiger defense, seemingly settled into the District 6A-I-1 game, by finding the end zone again. This time it was a 43-yard run to cap a two-play drive that started inside Jenks territory.
A big kickoff return placed Jenks inside Tiger territory but Kittleman was intercepted by Tiger senior Caleb Sanders at the one-yard line.
NHS couldn’t capitalize on the late second-quarter opportunity to get within one possession on the scoreboard. Although, the Tiger offense looked as lively as they had all night, taking the ball from their own one-yard line to Jenks’ 36-yard line.
“I thought on offense we played really well,” Martin said. “Defensively, we just got to eliminate big plays.”
The Tiger defense managed to shut out the Trojans in the second quarter, but Jenks reasserted itself as the aggressor in the second half.
NHS kept fighting, picking up scores from Horton and sophomore receiver Edric Lambert. But it couldn’t contain Jenks’ offense in the 24-point loss.
Up next, NHS heads to Westmoore for another important district tilt at 7 p.m. next Friday.
“We've got to regroup,” Martin said. “We've got to have a good week of practice. We gotta study these guys. We'll move on and just got to attack. Every week, especially in this district, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9 is a playoff. You just got to approach it one game at a time.”