NORMAN — Two years ago, Corbin Cleveland was part of Norman North's stellar sophomore class that saw playing time throughout a 2-8 season.
Jake Higginbotham was in the stands or elsewhere on Friday nights, having not thought much about playing football since giving up the sport after seventh grade.
Now, Cleveland and Higginbotham have teamed up to become one of the most formidable receiving tandems in the state for Norman North, which plays Jenks at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Boone Pickens Stadium for the Class 6A title.
“It hits home thinking that high school football is almost over,” Higginbotham said. “It's crazy to think where we are right now.”
Higginbotham and Cleveland are a big reason why.
Last Friday in a 49-42 win over Owasso, the pair combined for 251 yards receiving and four touchdowns.
All four of the scores were from 29 yards out or more.
Cleveland said it hasn't always been comfortable sharing the spotlight on a team that passes as much as North does, but he also realizes that Higginbotham's success — and that of fellow receiver Channing Meyer and the rest of Norman North's targets — helps get him space.
“At times, you might get a little upset because the ball gets shared around and you don't have as many catches as if it was just one of us out there,” Cleveland said. “But it really helped us all out because somebody's going to have a really great game almost every night.”
When Wade Standley arrived to take over the Timberwolves after that 2-8 season, Higginbotham had little thoughts of playing, outside of some neighborhood football games with his longtime friend Jaxon Uhles.