NORMAN — It may be just the first game of the district schedule, but the pressure is already on at Norman North.
The Timberwolves (1-2) host undefeated Midwest City at 7 tonight at Harve Collins Field in the District 6A-3 opener, and they know the stakes.
“Coach has been telling us these next two weeks could be like two district championship games,” quarterback David Cornwell said. “Now the games count for real.”
North cruised past a rebuilding Midwest City squad a year ago on its way to the district title, but tonight’s contest figures to be far different.
For starters, it’s Midwest City that looks like the early favorite for the district crown. The Bombers are ranked No. 10 in the state and riding high after an upset victory over Edmond Santa Fe in Week 1, followed by a 16-8 rivalry win over Del City a week ago.
While Midwest City’s defense has keyed both of those victories, North’s defense is reeling from inexperience and injuries. The Timberwolves began the week with five defensive starters dealing with injuries of varying severity, and it’s unknown how many will sit out when they take the field tonight. Coach Wade Standley said some of those players can already be ruled out of tonight’s game. Two players, linebackers Trevor and Trace Magee, were labeled a game-time decision last week before being held out of a loss to Westmoore.
“Hopefully we’ll have some of those guys back, but we won’t know until gametime,” he said. “But whoever we have on the field, we’ve got to keep it hooked up and bring our best game. Our goal is to win district games, and that will continue to be the goal, whoever we have.”
For Midwest City, the auspicious start to the season is a hallmark of coach Darrell Hall, whose team struggled to a 3-7 record in his first year at the helm but has ridden a resurgent defense to regain their place among the top teams in Class 6A.
The Bombers have nine starters back this year and are giving up an average of just 10 points a game this season.
For North, Cornwell will lead an offense that has been explosive all season but has at times stalled out. To win tonight, the senior said that the T-Wolves need to improve their consistency on offense so that the defense doesn’t have to stay on the field for as long.
“The three-and-outs are bad for us,” he said. “We can’t put the defense back out right after they get off the field. They play with more confidence when we score, and that’s what we can do to help them out. We’ve still got a lot of new pieces to work in, but I love going to work with these guys every day.”
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