NORMAN — Edmond Memorial defensive end Kourtney Williams believes good things will happen if he simply focuses on getting to the ball every play.
Williams proved his theory correct in the Bulldogs' 38-14 win over Norman on Friday night at Harve Collins Field.
The junior was in the Tigers' backfield all night, as he forced two fumbles and returned one 23 yards for a touchdown.
“It feels pretty good to lift the whole team up with a play like that,” said Williams of his first career defensive touchdown. “That's what happens when we all play together. We just got to the ball really well tonight as a defense and made plays.”
Edmond Memorial forced five Norman fumbles, recovering four, to turn a competitive game into a surprisingly easy win. Williams' fumble return gave the Bulldogs a 10-0 first quarter lead.
Senior defensive back Ben Moore also scooped up a Norman fumble and scored, his coming from 34 yards, to put the Bulldogs up comfortably at 31-14 early in the third quarter.
“Our defense helped get us some separation with those big plays when our offense wasn't finishing drives,” Edmond Memorial coach Justin Merideth said. “It was huge. It really changed the momentum for us.”
Edmond Memorial (3-2, 1-1) also got several big plays from its offense, led by star running back Warren Wand and quarterback Mick Mayerske.
Wand, a junior, broke first-quarter runs of 46 and 49 yards to get the Bulldogs' offense rolling. Wand finished the night with 164 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.
“The line was great for me tonight,” Wand said. “The holes I had were amazing. Without their blocking, I wouldn't have been able to have the night I did.”
Mayerske, a junior who split time at quarterback with senior Luke Booker, found receivers Donovan Nunley and Jordan Reed for touchdowns of 49 and 45 yards in the first half. Mayerske had one of his best performances of the season, going 8 of 10 for 181 yards.
“It just makes life easier for you if you can make those big plays,” Merideth said. “That's something we've probably lacked in the past that we're doing a little bit more of this year. We've got the confidence to do it now. Guys are a year older and I think that's probably it as far as what's been the biggest difference for us.”
Norman (2-3, 0-2) failed to finish several strong drives, turning the ball over on downs twice to go along with its four lost fumbles.
The Tigers got strong performances from senior running back Dupree Young and junior defensive back Sayvon Foley. Young had 17 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown.
Foley temporarily put Norman back into the game with a 63-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, cutting the Bulldogs' lead to 17-14 with 1:12 remaining in the first half.
But Edmond Memorial answered just 36 seconds later as Mayerske found Reed for a 45-yard touchdown pass.
After starting the season 2-0, Norman has now lost three straight.