By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
OWASSO — History repeated itself on Friday night in Owasso, as the Rams knocked NHS out of the playoffs for the third straight year.
While the Tigers played well throughout the game, it was the Rams — and quarterback Jaylen Lowe — who came up with the biggest plays in their 35-15 victory.
NHS keyed in on Owasso running back Scottie Prealow, who torched the Tigers last year for five touchdowns. The strategy worked, as the senior back finished with just 65 yards on 15 carries.
But the other half of the explosive Owasso offense led by signal-caller Lowe, found success all night against the NHS secondary. Lowe finished 14 for 21 with 247 yards and two touchdowns. He also did damage with his feet, extending multiple plays with his ability to scramble and turning several of them downfield to pick up significant yardage.
Meanwhile, his receivers got open downfield, sneaking behind the secondary several times for big gains on busted plays as Lowe bought time with his speed. NHS kept Owasso’s two biggest threats, Prealow and receiver Cole Neph, from beating the Tigers themselves, but the rest of the Rams stepped up, with Jake Burd leading the way with two scores.
“They were keying on Cole some, but we have weapons everywhere,” said Lowe, who finished with two rushing scores to go alongside his two passing touchdowns. “I just got it to them and let them do work.”
Things went wrong for NHS from the opening kickoff, when a hard hit on Imond Robinson caused a fumble and very nearly gave Owasso the ball right away. The Tigers recovered that fumble, but it was a sign of things to come. NHS put the ball on the ground three times. And, while the Tigers recovered all three, it set back several drives and kept the offense from getting into the flow.
“They were able to do what no other team has done all year, and that’s stop our inside rushing game,” coach Greg Nation said. “That’s a good football team. Our kids went out and competed and played hard, and that’s all we can do.”
After Owasso took a 14-0 lead into halftime, the Tigers were forced to deviate from their run-first gameplan and throw the ball more, to some success. Zach Long finished with 136 yards on 12-of-16 passing with an interception. In terms of completions, it was one of Long’s best passing performances of the year.
Robinson, who was shaken up after that initial hit, was still effective for the Tigers, gaining 78 yards on 19 attempts, and A’erion Hines added two touchdowns. Jakcob Dean recorded a season-high in receptions with eight totaling 96 yards. But it wasn’t enough to overcome Owasso.
The Tigers finished the season 9-3, two wins better than last year, and earned the program’s first playoff win in a decade.
“A season like this does so much for school pride and it shows where the program has come,” Nation said. “This senior group’s leadership was impeccable, and this class worked hard in the classroom as well as on the field. These kids will be successful in their lives, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com
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