BROKEN ARROW — With a seven-point lead, Broken Arrow had a simple plan on the opening drive of the second half in its showdown against Norman on Friday night.
It was a drive that showcased the considerable talent of the state’s top college recruit, Oklahoma commit Andrew Raym.
Broken Arrow handed the ball to Kejuan Tolbert on seven of the possession’s eight plays, covering all 65 yards, running behind Raym at right tackle.
“That was the Kejuan and Andrew show,” Broken Arrow coach David Alexander said.
Tolbert capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run, and second-ranked Broken Arrow was on its way to a 35-13 victory over sixth-ranked Norman in a District 6AI-1 battle of the Tigers at Memorial Stadium.
“It was power right every play,” Raym said. “It was fun.”
Alexander added, “That drive to start the second half was huge. Not to say the game was over (at 21-7), but against the kind of team we are churning the ball and playing real good defense. It was going to be really tough on them.”
Tolbert had 24 carries for 148 yards and two TDs — most of his yardage came in the final three quarters.
“We just had to figure them out a little bit,” Raym said. “They are probably the shiftiest and the team that slants the most that we’ve played this year. It just took a quarter to get used to it, and once we got it down, we were able to get it done.”
Isaiah Keller was another Broken Arrow standout with four catches for 118 yards.
Keller caught Jake Raines’ 50-yard TD bomb that opened the fourth quarter and then had a 45-yard interception return that set up Raines’ 15-yard TD pass to Tory Dillard that made it 35-7 with 10:04 remaining.
Norman, which averaged 47.8 points in its previous four games, scored a consolation TD on Cade Horton’s 7-yard pass to Edric Lambert midway through the fourth quarter. Horton, an OU football and baseball commit who accounted for 1,535 total yards and 15 TDs in his first four games, was held to 186 yards.
Horton was sacked five times in the first half, and linebacker Darryan Moss was involved in most of them. A key for Broken Arrow was Oregon commit Myles Slusher shutting down Norman’s top receiver, Andrew Young, who only had two catches for 12 yards. Young had 27 catches in the first four games.
”We put Myles on their No. 1 target receiver man-to-man, they hadn’t seen that and we hadn’t shown that, so that made their quarterback hold the ball a little bit,” Alexander said.
Slusher, however, left the game with a high ankle sprain in the third quarter and ended the night on crutches.
Broken Arrow (4-1, 2-0) trailed 7-0 before its offense got rolling midway through the second quarter, sparked by Keller hauling in a 41-yard bomb. After Keller caught a 10-yard pass on the next play, Tolbert then covered the final 36 yards of the 87-yard drive with carries of 11, 9, 5 and 11 yards — the latter tying the game at 7.
Horton was sacked twice on Norman’s ensuing possession, setting up a short field for Broken Arrow. Five plays and 39 yards later, Sanchez Banks scored from the 9 to give Broken Arrow a 14-7 lead with 2:44 left in the first half.
Broken Arrow then scored on three of its first four possessions of the second half to put the game away.
“You can definitely tell they were starting to shut it down,” Raym said of Norman’s Tigers. “They were tired of getting hit in the mouth. That’s what we do for 48 minutes and any team we play the rest of the year better get used to it.”
It was a satisfying win for Broken Arrow as Norman (4-1, 1-1) came into the game hyped by many on the West side of the state as a title threat and ranked No. 3 by the Associated Press (the World’s poll ranks Norman sixth).
“This is definitely a team, that as an offensive line, we circled at the beginning of the year,” Raym said. “They just tried to hype themselves up a lot all season and we had been talking about getting ready for this game. We went out there and smashed them in the mouth, and the scoreboard says it.”