By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — For a quarter, it looked like Norman High was in trouble. After the Tigers scored on a textbook opening drive, Moore responded with an 80-yard drive of its own to tie the ballgame.
For a moment, it looked as if the Tigers were in for a dogfight. But less than 5 minutes later, courtesy of three monster plays, NHS found itself up three scores and on track toward a 28-10 victory at Moore Stadium.
“We showed improvement,” Moore coach Todd Watters said. “But still making too many mental errors in all three phases of the game and playing too high defensively. We are not playing as physical as we need to in every aspect of the game. Our effort was pretty good. There are positions that can improve in this area, but over all, we played hard.”
Lion quarterback Colin Webb played well in his first start under center, running 29 times for 92 yards and passing for 24 more. He did, however, fumble the ball twice. As a team, the Lions put the ball on the ground three times.
“Turnovers always have a huge impact, but what hurt us most against Norman was our giving up big plays on defense and special teams, along with not being able to complete offensive drives,” Watters said.
Despite the loss, the Lions sowed marked improvement from the week before when it lost to Westmoore.
“Moore made a statement right there with that first drive that they were in this game,” Nation said. “I don’t care what happened last week, they came out and got better this week,” Nation said of Moore, which dropped a 62-14 decision to No. 8 Westmoore last week. “The flexbone option they run is hard to defend.”
Even though Moore is off to an 0-2 start to the season, it has proven to be an effective in at least one area.
The Lions will pound the rock.
In two contests, MHS has accounted for 407 rushing yards. Under first year coach Todd Watters, it has dedicated itself to running the ball. The Lions have 93 carries compared to only 18 pass attempts.
Webb leads the ground charge for MHS. He’s rushed for more than a 100 yards each game, despite not starting the opener against Westmoore.
“Colin has done a great job of making the correct reads on the option,” Watters said. “Our line has improved, but we started or played three sophomores Thursday night on offense, and many upperclassmen that have no varsity game experience, so we still are not as consistent as we need to be.”
The Lions return to action Friday when they face Southmoore in the Battle of the Big Cats. SMH has a chance to win the city championship while Moore is looking to just win its first game.
The SaberCats defeated MHS 28-12 last year and are coming off an emotional win over Westmoore.
“Southmoore is so explosive on offense that it will be very difficult to slow them down,” Watters said. “We need Southmoore to turn the ball over and make mistakes, and we will have to play a flawless game.”
Ward’s status in limbo?:Southmoore senior D.J. Ward had expected to find out Wednesday if he would be eligible to play Friday in his first football game of the season. After transferring from Oklahoma City Douglass two weeks ago, the 6-3, 245 defensive end was waiting for the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association to clear his hardship waiver.
Yet, according to OSSAA staff member Ron Etheridge, Executive Director Ed Sheakley and the bulk of the staff have gone to a sectional meeting in Denver and will not return until Saturday. Even though Ward and the SaberCat coaches were expecting an answer this week, it doesn’t look like that will happen before Friday’s game against Moore.
Ward, who has committed to play football at Oklahoma, did not attend practice Wednesday and was unavailable for a response. But late Wednesday night, he sent out several tweets on his twitter account that may have answered all questions.
So.. I'm not playing football this year," Ward posted. "I'm thinking about college. I'm tired of this I didn’t ask for it. "
Southmoore coach Jeff Brickman had no comment on the matter.
Injury doesn’t slow Painter: Despite broken ribs, Southmoore’s Tyler Painter made sure to have an impact in Friday’s win over Westmoore.
He came up with the biggest play of the night when he blocked the Jaguars’ extra point attempt at the end of the first overtime.
“I thought if they score, we need to use our timeout make sure our defense understands that the game is not over,” Southmoore coach Jeff Brickman said. “If we block this extra point, we’ll go into another overtime.
“We have a guy that’s playing with a broken rib named Tyler Painter. He’s playing through pain.”
Painter broke his ribs during practice earlier in the week, but found a way to slip through the Westmoore linemen to get his hands on the ball. After kick failed the SaberCats went on to win in the second overtime 33-27.
“I don’t even know if he took any pain medicine,” Brickman said. “He blocked that PAT against Carl Albert last week. So we told him to block another one for us.”
Jags face No. 7 North: Westmoore looks to get back on the winning track when it faces Norman North (2-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Moore Stadium. The Timberwolves are coming off a convincing but costly win over Del City last week.
During the NNH victory, the team suffered injuries to lineman Josh Been, who was caught in a pile-up on a rush down the middle. He went down hard and lay prone on the ground for several minutes. He will have surgery Thursday.
The Jaguars haven o major injuries, but they have to find a way to get past the crushing loss to Southmoore and prepare for one of the top teams in the state.
“The loss sticks with you until Friday,” Westmoore’s Jhames West said. “You are thinking about it until you get to beat somebody else. Once that happens, it will be all out of your system.”