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Finally, a lifelong goal fulfilled: Norman North's Kam Sixkiller gets his chance as starting QB

“He is just scratching the surface of his abilities as a (quarterback). Kam has all the tools to be one of the best in our state.”
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By Nate Aker | Photo by Michael Kinney 

NORMAN - Kam Sixkiller sat in shotgun formation and awaited the snap. 

Scanning the defense, Norman North's first-year starting senior quarterback patiently stood tall with two defenders screaming towards him as his offensive line pulled left.

Calm and collected under pressure, Sixkiller connected with senior wideout Cason Cabiness not even a yard past the line of scrimmage as his blockers fought for position. That created a huge hole for Cabiness to dance past all three defensive levels for a 49-yard hightail to the end zone.

“I went over to (Cabiness) and I was like, ‘I appreciate the touchdown;’ I just had to get it to him and he did the rest,” Sixkiller said of the play.

This was the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Norman native’s first touchdown as a starter in his high school career, as well as the first high school contest he’d ever started in, period. And it came in the first game of the season on Sept. 1 against Norman North’s biggest rival, Norman High.

Sixkiller fulfilled a lifelong goal of reaching the feat of becoming the starting quarterback of his hometown school, and he expressed his ecstasy, saying, “It felt really good, you know; I’ve always grown up coming to North games and watching the (quarterbacks) and looking up to them.

“So, to be that guy I used to be so obsessed with, it was a surreal moment for me.”

That 49-yard connection put the Timberwolves up 14-0, flashing the kind of offensive prowess Sixkiller and his weapons hold, while also providing a glimpse of what could be a stellar football team down the stretch into playoff contention.

Overall, Sixkiller flashed a true knack for making the correct reads in run-pass options and was an important rusher, punching it in the end zone two times on the ground.

Through the air, Sixkiller’s first half was remarkable, garnering more than 200 yards and a score, picking apart the defense and finding his guys in massive or tiny windows, and fifth-year head coach Justin Jones recognized that.

“I thought Kam had an outstanding performance on (Sept. 1),” Jones said. “He is just scratching the surface of his abilities as a (quarterback). Kam has all the tools to be one of the best in our state.

“He communicated well and displays leadership every down, every play.”

But, Sixkiller did falter some in the second half.

A pick early in the final quarter, and another just two possessions after that. Then combined with a fumble, which was narrowly recovered by the T-Wolves and led to a missed field goal on the series.

Even through the small patch of turmoil, Sixkiller held himself accountable.

“To be honest, going into the game, I expected a lot more of myself than what I think I showed on Friday,” he said. “I feel as though my game is a lot better than what I put on film, but like my coaches always say, ‘perspective is reality.’ So until I show anything different, I’m only as good as what I do, not what I say.

“I made a lot of small mistakes that resulted from me trying to do too much and not just taking what the defense gave me. I’ll give credit to (Norman), they played really hard and gave us everything they had, which should always be expected from a rivalry game of that kind.”

Late mistakes certainly happen for a first-year starter at arguably the most mentally straining position, and especially in the first game of the season.

In the end, North eclipsed Norman, 40-36, in an unflattering, penalty-ridden, weather-delayed “Crosstown Clash” at Harve Collins Stadium.

But, where Sixkiller came from, and where he’s planning to go, this performance is a stepping stone and a pertinent victory in his advancement towards his gridiron goals to make the city of Norman proud.

The 17-year-old has essentially known nothing other than Norman as home, as he’s resided here since his family returned to the city when he was just a year old in 2005.

With University of Oklahoma Sooner football being such a huge scene in the city, along with the T-Wolves and the Tigers, Sixkiller has been acclimated pretty well to the football scene since his youth.

“Since I’ve grown up here, around so much football, I’ve loved the sport since I was little," he said. "You know, since I was in Pre-K, I’ve always been the (quarterback), but at that time it was mainly due to me having the strongest arm, and my dad being a coach definitely didn’t hurt.

“I’ve always been around North football since I was young due to my love for the game, as well as playing for the feeder teams with a lot of the guys that I’m playing with now. So, we’ve played that North versus (Norman) game in our younger versions multiple times with, and against, some of the same kids.”

As Sixkiller takes over at North, he supplants former T-Wolves and current New Mexico State quarterback Gavin Frakes, who threw 2,207 yards and 24 scores for North last year.

As a junior behind Frakes last season, Sixkiller didn’t necessarily believe he had the power or experience to speak up and hold his teammates accountable, but now realizes he has to assume that role to rally his guys together.

“Last year, being a junior and being the backup, I still had a lot of respect from the team, but still, not everyone really listened to me or would really be happy if I was hard on them. So, I wasn’t the most vocal,” Sixkiller said.

Falling short in the quarterback battle to Frakes last year only added fuel to the fire, making Sixkiller “hungrier” to earn that spot, and acting as a huge motivational factor in the offseason to clench onto his starting role.

Throughout his efforts to retain a first-string bid, he’s picked up on that much-needed vocal role at the gunslinger position.

“This year, I’ve really focused on being more vocal with everyone and leading not only with just my actions, but with my voice as well," he said.

Now, all grown up, Sixkiller and his childhood teammates have a chance to construct a true camaraderie with him at the helm, which could help lead to heightened chemistry and cohesion throughout his senior season.

“Honestly, the best part about our team this year is how vocal and inclusive the seniors are,” Sixkiller said.

"This year, the seniors have really taken an initiative to be hard (to) everyone, but also take accountability and let the underclassmen keep them in check. And I think that has allowed our team to foster a brotherhood that is a lot closer than it has been in the past.”

This “brotherhood” that Sixkiller mentions is a valuable, intangible asset for a team to carry throughout the season, and can help weather and prevent many storms North may endure this year.

“It’s really easy for the team to go into the season together and play for one another, but when things start going wrong, I want us to be able to keep each other leveled,” Sixkiller said. “I think that if we can do that, we will be a really hard team to stop.”

Keeping a team leveled is easier said than done, however, but Sixkiller seems to have a plan to keep order amongst this North team:

Don’t press for big plays.

Stick to assignments.

Get your job done.

These seem to be the pillars of what could hold this team up under instances of distraught out on the field, according to Sixkiller, and it’s something that can be a pretty fundamental yet golden plan.

“That also means (we need) to have a short memory and not get too low on our emotions, but also not get too high as they can throw us off our game as well," Sixkiller said.

“If we can all have that mindset and make sure that we keep other guys up when they slip out of that, our team will perform really well.”

Sixkiller seems to have a calculated approach to this season, just as he does in his calculated and dialed-in approach as a pocket-passer.

He also seems to have that identical approach to his progression as a player, too.

And Jones feels the same way.

“He is mature beyond his years and he understands this game,” Jones said of his quarterback. “He has a high football IQ, and that will only continue to improve as the season goes on.

“I’m excited to see him drive our offense. He has done everything in his power over the last three years to be in this position and excel at this opportunity. Kam is an absolute stud. … He is a true field general.”

The maturation of Sixkiller will continue throughout the entirety of his final high school season, of course.

But, his impact as a leader, teammate and a constant person of support has proven to attract his teammates’ full attention just a game into the season.

It appears they’re prepared for whatever gauntlet is thrown their way in Class 6AI, and will help Sixkiller make the absolute most out of his lone starting season.

“I’m just so excited to go out there with my guys that I’ve been playing with for so long,” he said. 

“I’m gonna make sure I don't rush this year, cause it’s the only one I got left. … Why not make something happen?”