NORMAN — Coming into Friday night's game, Southmoore's Dunya Rice only knew how to run three plays at quarterback.
But with starter Conner Uselton out after suffering a concussion last week, coach Jeff Brickman decided playing Rice at quarterback gave his team the best chance to win on the road at Norman.
Brickman was right.
With Rice at the helm for much the night, the Sabercats offense racked up 397 rushing yards en route to a 33-30 victory over Norman at Harve Collins Field.
“Dunya is more of a guy that can run for us back there, and luckily we played him there some back in the spring,” said Brickman, whose team is now 4-3 overall and 2-2 in District 6A-4. “But he hadn't practiced there again until this week. We could only run three plays with him at quarterback tonight, and it ends up helping us run for a ton of yards. It's funny how things work out.”
Rice rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown, but he impacted the offense far beyond his own stats. With Norman's defense forced to respect his mobility, lanes opened up for Southmoore's star running back tandem of Jaelon Walker and Pierce Spead.
“I told our guys you have to be patient, but if you break through (the line) you're gone,” Brickman said. “We have as good of running backs as anyone around. They were very patient tonight and made big plays.”
Walker lead way with 208 yards on 12 carries and touchdown runs of 76 and 53 yards. Spead had 87 yards on 14 carries with a 59-yard touchdown.
Rice, normally a receiver/running back, also got his team going on special teams. After initially muffing the opening kickoff, Rice scooped up the ball and returned it 95 yards for a touchdown.
“I was kind of scared when I dropped it at first,” Rice said. “I didn't know what to do with it, so I just went with it and ended up taking it back. I thought that helped get the team ready and going.”
Despite giving up several big plays, Norman (3-4, 1-3) had an answer most of the game. It wasn't over until Tigers quarterback Jakcob Dean was sacked by Southmoore defensive end Houston Tyler on fourth down with 2:54 remaining.
“I felt we needed a play so I mustered that very last bit of strength I had and made it happen to get the win,” said Tyler, who is one of three senior captains. “It's always tough playing a mobile quarterback. They're more popular now for a reason. Luckily, he didn't see me coming and I made the play when it counted.”
Dean rushed for 73 yards on 20 carries while scoring two touchdowns, one on the ground and another through the air. Senior running back Dupree Young lead the Tigers with 105 yards on 17 carries.
Both teams will play crucial district games again next week. Norman will be at Edmond Santa Fe, and Southmoore hosts Edmond Memorial.