Editor's note: The Transcript will select a player each week from one of the area football teams as the Player of the Week.
It took one game for Brayden Dorney to surpass his production from all of last season.
In the Crosstown Clash against Norman High last Thursday, the junior receiver’s statline jumped off the page — seven catches, 194 yards and three touchdowns.
His 2020 statline? Seven catches, 144 yards and a touchdown.
After the game, Dorney was named as the offensive player of the week by his coaching staff.
“It was really a breakout game for him,” said Norman North coach Justin Jones. “To put up the statistics and the numbers that he put up, he had some big time catches. Obviously, the performance speaks for itself.
“I’m just really happy with the way he played, his explosiveness and his ability to catch the ball.”
Dorney didn’t wait long to begin his breakout game.
During North’s first possession, he slipped behind the Tigers’ defense and caught a well-thrown ball from quarterback Gavin Frakes, giving North an early lead after the 70-yard touchdown.
Later in the first quarter, Frakes found Dorney on a 51-yard score.
Two catches. 121 yards. Two touchdowns.
For Dorney, it was simple — find a way behind the defense.
“We went into that game knowing what defense we were going up against, and our coaches simply just said you can beat them with speed,” Dorney said. “So that's what we did.”
Late in the third quarter, with Norman High surging back, Frakes found Dorney for a 20-yard score that helped the T-Wolves secure a 41-24 win.
Frakes found other receivers throughout the game, but it’s clear Frakes and Dorney worked to develop a chemistry during the offseason and preseason scrimmages.
“We were nearly out on the field every day and throughout that offseason working on those deep balls, especially,” Dorney said.
Dorney saw the field last season as a sophomore, but North’s offense centered around the running game. This season, Jones and his team have worked to open the running game by utilizing a spread passing attack down the field, which plays to Dorney’s strengths.
“[He] had a couple of catches last year but he was a sophomore and I think this year, it's just a year of growth for him,” Jones said. “It’s a year of growth for our offense and Thursday night showed that hopefully we're going to be able to be pretty balanced, run the football and throw the football as well.”
Dorney’s confident that the team can carry its momentum against Edmond Memorial on Friday and through the rest of the season.
“I think as the season goes on, they're gonna start figuring out who we are and that's just going to create more opportunities for other people to get open,” Dorney said.
“I have faith in myself and I have faith in my teammates that what we did in that Clash will be a normal thing every single week.”