By Scott Moore

Transcript Sports Writer

Arsenio Thurman loves to play offense. And he does, but only a few snaps.

With 4.4 speed, he would appear to be a lethal weapon with the ball in his hands. Just get him the ball in open field and watch him turn on the jets.

“If they need me on offense, I’ll play there,” Thurman said. “I love to play on offense.”

But North coach Lance Manning chimed in.

“It seems like he has good hands, but when it comes to offense, he doesn’t,” Manning said.

Manning was joking. Sort of. Thurman has seen spot duty here and there, with a handful of catches and a few carries at tailback.

“He does have good hands, but he doesn’t have the best of hands on offense,” Manning said. “But really, he’s so important to us on the other side.”

The other side being defense, where Thurman is the Timberwolves’ best cornerback. He’s a three-year starter and has 29 tackles and one interception this year. Last year he had 38 tackles and three picks.

And one of his assignments Thursday will be to cover one of the state’s best receivers in Mustang’s Josh Cooper. Cooper leads Class 6A with 787 yards on 43 catches with nine touchdowns in Mustang’s Texas Tech-style offense.

“He’s an outstanding corner,” Manning said. “We have the ability to lock him on good receivers because he can get it done.”

It will be tough Thursday because Mustang likes to move Cooper around, but Thurman will get his chances.

“Whatever they want me to do, I’ll do it,” Thurman said.

“Knowing this is my last season, I’m working hard every week getting ready for the next game. I want to start a tradition here at Norman North. (The seniors) have been pushing everyone harder and harder.”

It’s paid off. The Timberwolves are 3-3 and 3-0 in District 6A-1.

A win over the Broncos should get the Timberwolves into the playoffs. If that happens and the T-Wolves enjoy a nice run, Thurman will then concentrate on his next goal: winning a state track championship.

He’ll be one of the favorites in the hurdles. Last season in the 300 hurdles, he beat Class 6A’s top hurdler at the Mid State Conference meet and had high hopes heading into state, but fell over a hurdle.

“I did terrible,” Thurman said. “The year before, I was fourth. This year, I can’t wait because I think I have a pretty good chance to win.”

He comes from a family of track stars. His parents ran for Hobbs High School in New Mexico, helping the Eagles win a state championship.

But football is Thurman’s first love. If he gets a scholarship, it would be a dream come true.

“He can play college ball at some level,” Manning said.

“I’d love to play in college,” Thurman said. “I prefer football over track. I love to hit.”

Scott Moore

366-3535

sports@normantranscript.com

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