Matt Athey and Corbin Bigheart have known each other their entire lives.

Literally.

The Enid High School seniors were born one day apart in the same local hospital. They had to wait a year before Colton Chelf came on board.

But since then, the trio has been inseparable, from little league football through junior high to high school.

These days, the threesome makes up the heart of a receiving corps that has been instrumental in Enid’s 2-0 start to the 2006 season, and they will be in action tonight when the sixth-ranked Plains-men travel to No. 10 Norman for the final non-district game of the season.

If not for their uniform numbers, Enid fans may have trouble telling the players apart. They are darn-near the same size, they all run sharp routes and they all have sure hands. Even one of their fathers had trouble seeing the difference.

Last summer, Mike Bigheart was preparing game film of Corbin to be sent to college recruiters. But Mike mistakenly added a pair of Athey’s catches before he was corrected by his own son.

“We do look alike,’’ said Bigheart. “A lot of people mistake Colton and me for brothers.’’

The Plainsmen have featured any number of talented receivers over the years, players like P.J. Mills, Mike Martin, David Karns, Shawn Mills, Donald Shoals and John Baudendistel, to name a few. But rare has been a pass-catching corps that featured three standouts on the same team in the same season.

Athey, Bigheart and Chelf benefit by playing in a spread offense that relies heavily on the passing game. So far this season, Chelf has 7 catches for 150 yards and 2 scores. Bigheart has 7 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. And Athey has 2 catches for 18 yards.

“We get in that (spread) offense and throw it around,’’ said Chelf. “They can’t stop all of us.’’

The trio has an impact in other ways, too. They all play in the defensive secondary, Athey is the punter, Bigheart is on the punt team and Chelf returns punts and holds on kicks.

So joyful they find the game, Chelf, Bigheart and Athey play it as if they are squaring off in a backyard game of touch football, but there just happens to be 6,000 fans in the stands.

“They all have great personalities, a great sense of humor, and they bring that to the game,’’ said Enid coach Tom Cobble. “They want to have fun, and they want to have fun in your secondary.’’

Delivering the passes is another boyhood pal. Quarterback Austin Box has completed 17 of 32 passes for 280 yards and 3 touchdowns this season.

Box, who tied his own single-game school record with 4 touchdowns last week in a 34-22 victory over Midwest City, has accounted for 74 percent of Enid’s total offense this season. He has rushed for 325 yards and 5 touchdowns and passed for 280 yards.

With another good game, Box has a chance to tie an all-time school record tonight. Box’s 44 all-purpose touchdowns are tied for second with Dale Holt. The record is held by Linwood Haskins, who had 48 all-purpose touchdowns from 1920-23.

The offense will need to be in synch tonight when the Plainsmen take on the Tigers.

Norman opened the season with a convincing 34-6 victory over Norman North, and followed that with an equally impressive 35-13 win over Moore.

“This is the best team we’ve played so far this year,’’ said Cobble. “This looks like a pretty even match.’’

The Tigers are led by senior Ryan Broyles, a 5-11, 165-pound all-purpose player who has 11 Division I offers. In the first two games Broyles scored 2 rushing touchdowns, nabbed 2 interceptions and caught 5 balls for 134 yards.

“He’s as good a player as I have ever coached,’’ said Norman coach Butch Peters.

Senior quarterback Sam Tullius has completed 19 of 36 passes for 355 yards and 4 touchdowns with no interceptions.

Cobble said Norman’s linebackers and defensive backs could be the one of the best units in the state this season.

“They are aggressive and they will come get you,’’ said Cobble. “They like to throw themselves around. Our receivers against Broyles and (Chika) Madu will be an interesting matchup. With the way we run the ball, and with their linebackers, I would imagine there will be some explosions and collisions inside.’’

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