EDMOND — Edmond Santa Fe quarterback Justice Hansen had been downplaying the battle against Norman North's David Cornwell on Thursday night at Edmond Santa Fe.
But then when the half-game scrimmage actually started, the two top recruits duked it out in grand style, matching touchdown for touchdown — until injuries struck both.
Hansen, an Oklahoma commitment and No. 4 on The Oklahoman's Super 30, orchestrated three drives to open the scrimmage, only to re-tweak his hamstring on his 70-yard touchdown run to leave the game for precautionary reasons.
“Regardless of anything that would have happened before, I wasn't going to miss this scrimmage,” said Hansen, who had originally tweaked his hamstring in practice. “It was good to go out there, get my three series in and then see how the team picked it up in the end.”
Later, Cornwell rolled his ankle at the end of the first quarter on a fourth-and-goal play.
The Alabama commitment, who is ranked No. 2 on the Super 30, sat on the sideline with ice taped to his ankle. But he talked like the injury would be a non-factor in the future.
“I'll be ready in two days,” Cornwell said. “This ankle is fine. You'll see me on the practice field in two days.
“I was just up on one foot and then I came back down, kinda like a basketball play, just came down on it on the toe and just rolled it. I'll be taping my ankles from now on. I thought I'd be fine, but it'll be great in two days.”
Even with the disappointing result, the quarterbacks combined for more than 200 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Hansen opened the scrimmage with a 51-yard TD pass to senior Malik Earl on short pass, and then watched Cornwell and Norman North go just four plays on their opening series.
But Norman North quickly responded with an interception, taking advantage of a pass off the hands of a Santa Fe receiver.
Cornwell then nailed a 51-yard TD pass in the end zone.
Hansen, not to be outdone, then responded with his long TD run before exiting.
“That kid's frustrating to defend — his release, the velocity on the football, the accuracy he threw with,” Edmond Santa Fe coach Lance Manning said about Cornwell. “It was frustrating.
“On the other hand, you've got Justice who throws a good ball and then the way he runs the football, as well. I'm sure that frustrates people, too. I think it's just two very impressive quarterbacks.”
Afterward, each quarterback spoke highly of the other.
“I have a lot of respect for him, seeing him around the block a lot,” Cornwell said about Hansen. “Seeing him at midfield, when you meet these guys they're just like you.”
But for Hansen, he maintained that the scrimmage wasn't just about the quarterbacks.
It was a sentiment Manning agreed with.
“It's about a lot more than Cornwell and Hansen,” he said. “There's a lot of good football players that fought their hearts out making plays. But as a coach watching the game, I think you have to be really impressed with both players.”