NORMAN — One step forward, two steps back.
That was the theme for Norman North on Friday night, as the Timberwolves shot themselves in the foot time and again in a crushing 31-21 loss to Putnam City North.
The loss throws the district playoff picture into chaos and came in disheartening fashion. The Timberwolves (5-3, 4-1) turned the ball over four times, had three trips inside the Panthers’ 10-yard line come up empty and two fumbles turned into Panthers’ touchdowns when Putnam City North scooped the ball and scored.
Despite outgaining Putnam City North (4-4, 4-1) by nearly 150 yards, the Timberwolves were never in control of the game. They fell behind early when Panthers quarterback Chase Sparks found Cayman Johnson on a perfectly executed wheel route before hitting Kaedyn Fuller on a deep ball to put Putnam City North up 14-0. From there, the Timberwolves kept trying to mount a comeback but were stopped by turnovers, dropped passes and a slew of penalties, including one first-half series that saw them facing down a first-and-43.
“Sometimes even the best players don’t execute 100 percent right all the time,” coach Wade Standley said. “We didn’t consistently execute tonight, and when they score on your turnovers it makes it tough.”
Despite entering the locker room at halftime down 21-0, the Timberwolves started the second half like a team in control. They picked off a pass early in the quarter and seemed poised to begin the comeback, but they had the first of two touchdowns called back by holding penalties.
Two other trips inside the 10-yard line came up empty, with one turning into a Panthers’ touchdown when a bad snap from the T-Wolves patented “U-Haul” formation sailed over the head of Payton Prince and was eventually scooped up by Putnam City North’s Dylan Peavy and returned 94 yards to make it 28-7.