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April 23, 2013

Norman North seniors band together

NORMAN — There are senior nights and then there’s what’s going on at Norman North tonight where the fifth-ranked and District 6A-2 champion Timberwolves play host to Putnam City.

Because sometimes there’s just one, two or three seniors. And sometimes the only real legacy is one of sticking it out despite little reward, which may say grand things about character but something close to the opposite about competitive success.

Almost always senior nights are fun and sweet, yet not necessarily of great consequence.

The North boys suffer none of these reservations. For starters, literally, there are 11 of them, and when coach Geo Claros rolls out his lineup tonight, here’s who’ll be in it: Ashton Bray, Matt Gann, Garrett Gibbs, Cory Graubenbaur, Ryan Johnson, Trent Laffoon, Curtis McRae, Luke Moore, Jonathan Newton, Alex Spens and Daniel Taylor, seniors all.

It’s a funny thing.

They’ve known each other forever, played on many of the same teams forever, have been close forever, but tonight’s probably the first time all 11 will share the same field at the same time against a collective foe.

“There’s going to be a whole lot of emotion,” said McRae, who along with Bray is headed to Central Arkansas to play college soccer. “We’ve known each other growing up, we’ve all gone to school together. It’s going to be a fun one, that’s for sure, all of us on the same field.”

For the most part, it goes back to fifth grade, when soccer first became competitive. All but Bray and Spens play their club soccer in the NYSA’s Celtic program, but that just means they’ve not only played together, but also against each other through the years.

After four years in the same program, there’s not much daylight between them.

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