NORMAN — Seventeen charter buses will transport 550 Norman North students Friday for the two-hour drive to Tulsa Union High School for the Timberwolves’ 7:30 p.m. Class 6A state semifinal kickoff against Owasso.
Two buses will be used for the football team, two for pom and cheer and one for the Norman North band. The convoy will leave the school at 2:25 p.m. Friday.
The chartered buses are completely funded by sponsors at no cost to the students. Kelly Higginbotham, mother of Norman North receiver Jake Higginbotham, said the buses will ensure the students get to the game safely.
When the students heard about being able to sign up for the charter buses, Higginbotham said the school’s halls were packed with kids wanting to support their team. Within 48 hours, 550 students were signed up and ecstatic about getting a free ride to the game on the charter buses, said Scooter Proctor, father of North linebacker Beau Proctor.
“My son came home Monday or Tuesday night, and he’s a big time football player, and he said ‘Dad, you have no idea what you’ve done,’” Proctor said. “‘These kids and the students are more excited than we are about this game.’”
Scooter Proctor said the support they have received from the community has been unbelievable and what started out as something small grew into something beyond his comprehension.
The historic support being shown the team is right in line with the historic accomplishments of coach Wade Standley’s football program.
North opened its doors in 1997 in what has been referred to ever since as “the split,” when Norman Public Schools went from being a one-high school district to a two-high school district.
In that first post-split school year, there was one football team, Norman High’s, fielding players from both schools.
The combo team went 9-1 and entered the postseason ranked No. 3. But having to travel to Yukon the second week of the playoffs, the Tigers fell 28-21. Since, no NHS or North team had advanced past that same quarterfinal playoff round.
Until the T-Wolves, this season.
Support for the team hit a new high last week, when North took down Broken Arrow , the state’s largest high school, 24-16 at Harve Collins Field.
“Last game,” Beau Proctor said, “I don’t know how many kids we had there, but it was all the way to the top, and it was something that we’ve never seen at Norman North.”
That support will continue Friday.
Tailgating will begin once the students arrive at Union-Tuttle Stadium, where more sponsors, including Coca-Cola and Sysco Foods, have donated 600 bottles of Coke and water as well as hot dogs and hamburgers.
Sponsors for the charter buses include Stockwell Law Offices, The Fowler Group, Virgin Law, OK Rig, Calvin Brink, The Williams Group, Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill, Louie’s, OklahomaTickets.com, Cafe Plaid, Sports Talk 1400 and Crescent Services.