NORMAN — Norman coach Greg Nation has known for two years that quarterback Zach Long could run.
On Friday night, the senior showed what his coach had been talking about.
Long rushed 13 times for 159 yards and three touchdowns, working some wizardry with the ball on the option and zone read plays to guide Norman to a 56-35 win over No. 9 Mustang at Harve Collins Field.
“We always knew he had good legs from the time he was a sophomore,” Nation said. “But the biggest thing, this year, he's making great decisions with the football.
“His reads are real good. I think the biggest thing about him is the command he takes in the huddle. When that guy goes in the huddle, he's got 10 guys looking at him knowing he's taking charge and he's gonna lead them down the field.”
Long had 125 yards in the first half on just seven carries, but Friday's win was far from a one-man show.
Running backs Imond Robinson and A'erion Hines had 147 and 152 yards, respectively, each scoring twice. They combined for 231 yards in the second half, and Norman had 458 yards on the ground for the game.
Statistically, Mustang piled up the numbers, too, with 411 passing yards and 534 in all. But much of that came after the Tigers had built a 35-14 lead.
“I challenged the defense last week that we've got to wrap up better, become better tacklers,” Nation said. “I felt like we tackled better. Our defense was on the field quite a bit tonight, but I thought we played well.”
But the Bronco defense, which had been especially strong the last two weeks, had no answer for Norman's three-headed monster in the backfield, thanks to the powerful play of the Tigers' offensive line.
“It was a lot of fun blocking for those guys,” said senior left tackle Zac Uhles, a 6-foot-3, 240-pounder who has committed to Tulsa. “You just give them a little hole and they're gonna cut through it and make something happen. It's an easy job for us when they're that quick and can get the job done.
“We wanted to make sure our presence was felt, that we got a surge on the line and we were playing on their side of the line of scrimmage, not ours.”