NORMAN — Entering Friday’s state title game, Norman North senior Jordan Evans had returned a punt or a kick for a touchdown in each of the Timberwolves’ three playoff games. Wary of the danger Evans presented, Jenks did everything it could to keep the ball out of his hands.
The Trojans tried squib kicks, onside kicks and chip shots high into the air. And, for the most part, it worked. Evans was only able to attempt one kick return, and he didn’t have much room to set up, with Jenks’ defenders just a few yards away from him when he caught the ball.
The strategy extended to punts as well. Jenks would roll out of the punter on every kick, giving him the option to run it, as the Trojans attempted once, or to kick it after a delay. That gave the Trojans’ coverage unit enough time to make it down the field, where they bottled up whoever North had back to receive the kick.
“The plan was not to let No. 6 run one back,” Jenks coach Allan Trimble said. “It wasn’t perfectly executed, but we did well enough.”
Evans, who committed to Oklahoma last week, finished the season with five touchdowns on returns.
Clash of game plans clearly defined: Going into the championship, there was no doubt where each team’s strength lie. For North, it was quarterback Peyton Gavras and a talented corps of receivers. Jenks, on the other hand, got the title game behind a strong offensive line and star running back Barr’e.
The clash in philosophies manifested itself quickly Friday night. North started the game with seven straight passing plays, while Jenks countered with five straight running plays, one of which was an 88-yard Barr’e run that set up the Trojans’ first score.
In all, North threw the ball 49 times and ran it just 23, while Jenks kept it on the ground for 34 plays and threw 20 passes.
Penalties, turnovers mar first half: It was a dominating first half that led Jenks to its first state title in five years, and it was a combination of North mistakes and a lack thereof for the Trojans that led them to that.
While Jenks lost one fumble in the half, they also picked off North twice and, most importantly, did not record a penalty.
Jenks’ first flag came nearly four minutes into the third quarter, when the Trojans were called for pass interference. North also played a relatively clean game but had several first-half penalties that cost them.
“Our guys just take it upon themselves to do what they need to do,” Trimble said. “It’s a blast to work with such a good group.”
Hard luck on hardwood: Both Norman High squads opened up the season Friday at Southmoore, and both dropped tough games.
The boys fell to 0-1 with a 56-34 loss to Southmoore in coach Matt Thornton’s first game at the helm. The girls also dropped a 48-27 decision to No. 11 Southmoore to fall to 0-1. NHS will host Moore in the first home game Tuesday.
More basketball games rescheduled: Due to the football team’s playoff run, the basketball schedule at North is undergoing some more changes.
North was scheduled to host Del City in the home opener Tuesday, but those games are being pushed back, athletic coordinator Eddie Paul said. No makeup dates have been announced yet.
The season was supposed to tip off Friday, but those games also were delayed so students could travel to the Class 6A championship game in Stillwater.
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com