NORMAN — While all the attention before the game may be on the injured David Cornwell, the Alabama commit who isn’t expected to start at quarterback for Norman North this week, once the Timberwolves kick off against U.S. Grant, attention will shift to John Kolar, who will be under center.
Kolar, the junior quarterback who came in for the injured Cornwell a week ago and led North (3-2, 2-0) to a comeback victory over Yukon, has proven that he has the tools to keep the offense moving. And doing so under pressure last week was more than enough to impress his coach.
“John played lights out,” coach Wade Standley said. “He came in and commanded the offense and made some big-time plays for us. We’ve got some great players around him, and they all make plays. John’s going to keep doing a good job for us.”
As the Timberwolves prepare to host winless U.S. Grant at 7 p.m. today at Harve Collins Field, Kolar won’t be under the same pressure he was last week. That game was one that likely will have ramifications on the district title race, while tonight’s game against an overmatched U.S. Grant squad figures to be one in which the Timberwolves work to integrate Kolar into the offense and stay healthy ahead of next week’s showdown against Edmond North (3-2, 2-0).
Not that the T-Wolves are approaching it that way.
“We have to get better this week, no matter who we’re playing,” Standley said. “We have to focus on ourselves and being more consistent. We’ve got to continue to improve up front offensively and develop a rhythm.”
Almost as important for North as getting better is staying healthy in tonight’s game. Besides next week’s contest against Edmond North, the T-Wolves have a very favorable schedule that they could run to an undefeated district record and a second straight title.
First, they have to get past tonight. The defense has been steadily improving all season, and will have a chance to build some confidence tonight. While Standley said his team isn’t looking ahead to next week, it wouldn’t be a shock if the Timberwolves tried to implement tonight some of the schemes they’ll look to run next week.
The same goes for the offense, which gains a nimble runner in Kolar while losing some of the arm strength of Cornwell. With Kolar’s move from wide receiver to quarterback, North also will look to its other receivers to step up with him under center. Wideout Nick Basquine has proven to be a consistent playmaker for North, as have tight ends Tyler Sipe and Payton Prince, but the Timberwolves could use another outside threat.
One thing that isn’t in doubt is that Kolar’s teammates have confidence with him taking the snaps.
“John’s been great for us at wide receiver, and he’s going to be great for us at quarterback,” Prince said. “He’s a competitor and gives you 100 percent.”
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