EDMOND — Norman's Jakcob Dean gingerly stood up from his spot on one knee, and slowly turned to walk, hobbling a few steps before reporters stopped him to talk about the Tigers' 28-14 upset of No. 6 Edmond Santa Fe on Friday night at Central Oklahoma's Wantland Stadium.
The conversation quickly turned to the senior quarterback's heavily taped right ankle, which he appeared to injure in the second half. It caused him to miss a couple of plays and left him visibly limping the rest of the game.
“I'm not hurt at all,” Dean said of the limp. “You gotta walk with some swagger.”
No subtle wink. No joking smile. Just a stone-faced stare.
“I could go another four quarters right now,” he added.
The pain in his bum ankle, real or not, was irrelevant to him. He and the Tigers had pulled off their biggest win of the season at the most crucial of times. Knowing one loss likely would end their playoff chances, the Tigers stopped Edmond Santa Fe's potent offense and found ways to churn out yardage with a banged-up offense.
Beyond Dean's ankle, the Tigers came into the night without their top two running backs, and third-string sophomore Ty Smith left the game after pounding out 71 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. By the end of the night, the Tigers were handing the ball to freshman Diante Defreeze in crucial situations to put the game away.
“That just shows what kind of heart we have, what kind of team we are,” Dean said. “We dropped some games, but we know it's nothing we can't fix. It's all a matter of want-to, and we have the will on this team. I'm proud of us.”
Dean rushed for 108 yards on just 11 carries, and threw for 46 with a pair of touchdowns.
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