By MIKE MOGUIN
Broken Arrow Express Sports Writer
GROUND ATTACK: Running back Noah Cortes is a key weapon in the 2018 Tigers’ backfield.
Photo by MIKE MOGUIN for GTR Newspapers
Talk circulated in the media throughout the summer about Broken Arrow possibly having a breakthrough year. It may have been an indication when the Class 6A1 No. 2-ranked Tigers made a statement in a 33-10 win over top-ranked Union before a sellout crowd of 11,000 people in its season opener Aug. 24 at Memorial Stadium.
Several players made big plays in the game. That included running back Noah Cortes, who scored two touchdowns while rushing for 157 yards.
In an interview 10 days prior to the win, Cortes talked about seeing Owasso winning last year’s Class 6AI state title, breaking a 21-year run in which Union or Jenks won the highest classification in Oklahoma.
“It was just something different to look at (to see someone besides Union or Jenks winning the title),” Cortes says. “I was at that championship game watching and I got out on the field afterwards and just absorbed all the energy, all the hype, that they got the gold ball and stuff. So, I just know how we can do it, how we can get there and do the same thing. It just motivates you.”
Cortes, a 6-0, 215-pound senior, is driven by a hard-work ethic, dedicated to his role and his teammates. He sees his toughness as his best attribute as an athlete and was thrilled when practice started back up last month.
“Just being out there with my brothers again and getting ready for the season,” Cortes says. “There is just no better feeling than that.”
As a junior last year, Cortes scored 13 touchdowns while rushing for 1,617 yards on 219 carries. As a receiver, he caught 14 passes for 122 yards and a TD. For his prep career, he has totaled 21 TDs with 2,485 yards on 403 carries. His had a phenomenal performance in the Tigers’ first round playoff win against Norman North, totaling 305 yards on 40 carries with two TDs.
“I love being out there wide and catching the ball,” he says. “I can catch the ball just as good as I can run the ball. So, I practice on my craft running the ball and practice on passing and catching the ball every day after practice.
“It’s (compiling numbers) just amazing,” Cortes says. “I just give all glory to God, because without Him, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Cortes’ favorite running backs are Marshawn Lynch, Le’veon Bell and Christian McCaffrey. His favorite team is the Minnesota Vikings.
He recalls last season when the Tigers were faced with a 1-4 start. They would rebound to win six straight games including the playoff game against Norman North.
“We just had to look at something bigger,” Cortes says. “We couldn’t just focus on what everyone else was saying about as far as the losses. We just had to stay positive through all that and just keep on working.”
This year, Cortes and his teammates are wanting to taste that state championship, which would be a first for Broken Arrow.
“We just got to have better leadership this year and work better as a team and not have individuals out there,” he says.
“This offseason training was amazing,” Cortes says. “Our team has gotten so much faster, I’ve gotten so much faster, stronger, just mentally stronger, our leadership is crazy. We’re so hungry for a championship. It hasn’t happened around here yet, but this is the year, because this group of guys around here is just something different.”
The Tigers hosted Mansfield (Texas) the following week (Aug. 31) after the Union game, followed by a visit to defending state champion Owasso (Sept. 7). After a week off, Jenks is on the schedule (Sept. 21), then it’s away at Norman (Sept. 28).
In the latter stretch, Westmoore comes to town (Oct. 5), then comes a three-game road trip against Edmond Santa Fe (Oct. 12), Yukon (Oct. 18) and Edmond Memorial (Oct. 26). The regular season concludes at home against Enid (Nov. 1).