North, in a game that never seems to come easy, remains the easy pick. Can anybody remember the last time the T-Wolves exited in the round of eight?
The Tigers are always the sentimental pick because it’s always been Drummond on the sideline, and the T-Wolves, for more than a decade, have always been the easy pick, the powerhouse, the machine, the program that, unless you’re a part of it, feels like rooting DiMaggio’s Yankees.
Yet it feels different.
It feels like no other game in the series, because the Tigers don’t feel like they have to shock themselves or the world to get it done, and they’re right.
They know they’re a better team than they’ve been. They know they led No. 1 Edmond North 2-1 and No. 3 Jenks 1-0, and played North to a 0-0 tie over 80 minutes at John Crain Field.
North, second ranked, is just North. The T-Wolves get to the semifinals the way Dean Smith used to get North Carolina to the Sweet 16 and the way Bobby Cox used to get the Braves to the division pennant.
You wonder about all the great ones that have come along in the series. For North, the Colemans, Russ and Jack, Will Smith and Corey Albertson, Dom Cervi and Patrick Tanner … did they ever get to play in a game like tonight’s?
For NHS, John Marshall and Sam Suflita, Jarrod Tarver and, yeah, Geo Claros, Alec Lee and, yeah, Don Rother … did they ever get to play in a game like this?
The 2010 Crosstown Clash football game was moved to Harve Collins Field after a lightning storm kept it from being played the night before at Owen Field and it was pandemonium in the best possible way.
Nobody expects 20,000 people at the North pitch tonight, but last season’s regular-season matchup might have drawn 3,000 at OU, so maybe that total can be topped.