NORMAN — Four west-side schools took the field Friday night to try and bring down the east’s “Big Four.” It was billed as a year that the West could make progress against the East, and the Class 6A quarterfinals lined up as such to put that theory to the test.
There were signs this year could be different than years past, in which the “Big Four” of Tulsa Union, Jenks, Broken Arrow and Owasso — the four largest schools in the state — dominated the playoffs, and in Jenks’ and Union’s case, the title game. West schools entered the quarterfinals 39-5, while east-side schools were just 34-9. But as Friday night wore on it was clear that Norman North was the only team up to the challenge, defeating Broken Arrow 24-16 to move into the semifinals.
And the Timberwolves’ game was the only one that was particularly close, reinforcing the belief that the East is still a step or two ahead.
Norman High hung tough with Owasso for much of the first half, but the Rams were able to pull away for a 35-15 victory. Likewise, Edmond North kept pace with Jenks into the fourth quarter, but Jenks’ back Trey’Vonne Barr’e blew open the game early in the final frame with an 80-yard touchdown run that finally put the Huskies in the rearview mirror. That’s where they stayed, with Jenks opening it up from there en route to a 34-12 win.
Tulsa Union, meanwhile, didn’t even give Edmond Santa Fe a chance. The Redskins jumped on the Wolves early and often, forcing five turnovers in a blowout, 52-19 victory.
That sets up this week’s games, with Norman North advancing to the semifinals for the first time in history, where the Timberwolves will face Owasso at Tulsa Union while Union meets Jenks at Broken Arrow. It’s a chance for North, already giant-killers after knocking off the state’s largest high school, to make some more history.
No team besides Jenks or Union has won the Class 6A title since 1996, a year before North even existed. With the two playing in the other semifinal game, it’s a guarantee someone will have a shot to end that streak this season.
Why not the Timberwolves?
Broken Arrow was as good of a team as anyone in the state, including the state’s most well-known champions. But North was up to the challenge against the Tigers on Friday, making the big plays early and late to salt away the victory, and the T-Wolves proved they can beat anyone in the state.
A team that was a surprise playoff entrant just a year ago is now knocking on the doorstep.
“We don’t want it to end,” said senior linebacker Jordan Evans, whose 90-yard punt return first put North on the board Friday. “We’re on a mission.”
That mission isn’t yet accomplished. But the Timberwolves may just be on their way.
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com