NOBLE — The Norman North boys’ 2-1 loss to Edmond North in the Class 6A state championship game was the T-Wolves’ first regulation defeat suffered in the state of Oklahoma since a 1-0 loss to Edmond Memorial on April 1, 2010, a streak of 52 games played within Oklahoma’s borders.
The Timberwolves’ two in-state losses this season prior to the state title game came via shootouts, to Broken Arrow and Norman High.
A year ago, on the march to the state championship, the T-Wolves didn’t lose a game in any conditions, finishing off a perfect 17-0 season and 14-0 within the state. Two seasons ago, North’s only in-state loss was to Broken Arrow in the Class 6A semifinal round, but that 2-1 decision was decided on penalty kicks after 100 minutes of soccer failed to produce a winner.
Inside the game: Nobody may remember it in the wake of a difficult defeat, but as pretty as North’s lone goal was, going from Mauro Cichero, back to Ryan Johnson and then forward to the head of Carson Cacciatori, there was another sequence that occurred 14 minutes earlier in which Edmond North keeper David Atkins absolutely robbed the T-Wolves.
The ball went from Johnson to the head of Cichero to the head of Jacob Jerles. Atkins kept it out, but it was hard to believe how he managed it. It was North’s first shot and Atkins’ first, best save.
Not really done: With a senior class 11 players strong, the T-Wolves will also be rebuilding as many spots open up young and yet untested talent. But that doesn’t mean those 11 are finished playing soccer. Many aren’t.
Curtis McRae and Ashton Bray are both headed to Central Arkansas to play college soccer. Trent Laffoon and Jonathan Newton are both headed to Oral Roberts University to play college soccer. Ryan Johnson is headed to Oklahoma Christian (where he’ll join former North teammate Brandon Little Axe) to play college soccer, and goalkeeper Daniel Taylor is headed to Southwestern Christian, in Bethany, to continue his netminding.
School spirit: Though they finished on the wrong side of a difficult afternoon, several of the Timberwolves made it to Shawnee to support the North baseball team’s efforts at winning its own state title.
McRae, Jerles, Cichero, Garrett Gibbs and Corey Graubenbaur all made the trip.