NORMAN — The lines are not new.
Seasons end and there are only so many ways to explain them. Even when it was a fantastic game. Even if — cliché alert — nobody deserved to lose.
Sometimes the storybook ending isn’t your storybook and Saturday night at Harve Collins Field it was Mustang’s rather than Norman North’s.
The final was Broncos 44, Timberwolves 37, and the temptation was to wonder how on earth it happened. How did it happen when North led 21-7 in the first half and 27-17 in the second?
There was, though, another way to look at it and that was the simple fact North did everything it could possibly do; or, at least, pulled every string that it possibly could.
When Mustang quarterback Chandler Garrett, a veritable sophomore phenom, who already stands 6-5 and weighs 205, dropped back to pass facing third-and-11 with less than a minute to play from the T-Wolves’ 44, North coach Wade Standley’s cornerbacks were Nick Basquine, his best receiver, and Quan Hogan, his best running back.
The T-Wolves were pulling out all the stops. Maybe the Broncos were, too, because Garrett found David Parker over the middle for 27 yards, between two of the T-Wolves’ best athletes.
Basquine very nearly broke up the play, leaving his man along the right boundary when he guessed the way the play was going.
The next snap, Frankie Edwards, the Broncos’ senior running back who was quarterback until Garrett beat him out of the job, took it 17 yards up the middle and that was that.
The T-Wolves did all they could. They just couldn’t make it be enough. And, oh, what a list it was, that wasn’t quite enough.
The first of quarterback John Kolar’s three touchdown passes began with a snap to Payton Prince, who then pitched it back to Kolar, who then hit Tyler Sipe over the middle with no Bronco in the same zip code. It covered 42 yards and put North up 7-0.
His second touchdown pass came in right over Hogan’s right shoulder. So perfect, Hogan never broke stride on the way to an 82-yard score.
The interesting thing about it was that Hogan lined up wide left, making it at least three different positions he played Friday night. That made it 21-7.
Another time, Hogan snared a backward pass from Kolar before squaring up and hitting Basquine, into the wind for 39 yards.
And when that drive stopped at the 17, Standley ran in what looked like his field goal unit, but turned into a fake, back-up quarterback Zac Musgrove trying to hit Basquine in the end zone.
It didn’t work, but North wasn’t about to go down with the bat on its shoulder.
Also, the next time somebody in a North uniform completes a pass, catches a touchdowns pass and intercepts a pass (and runs it out of the end zone 35 yards) it will be the first time since Hogan did Friday against Mustang.
And none of the above has yet mentioned the play of the night, because that was Basquine, in the third quarter, catching a screen pass from Kolar before making like old Cleveland Brown Eric Metcalf on Monday Night Football, jumping to one side and making one Bronco miss, and then jumping back and making another Bronco miss, and the sprinting 82-yards down the sideline.
In that single play, Basquine may very well have paid for his college education. Or, if that was never in doubt, the young man’s now bound to have some choices.
Probably it had to end this way. Week to week to week to week, you’d watch North win before counting the weeks left in the season and wondering if it was time enough for its defense to find its way.
The Broncos picked up 531 yards against the T-Wolves. Not quite as many as the T-Wolves, but enough.
So Standley tried everything. Tyler Sipe was playing both ways, too, so was Prince and so was Trey Wormington.
Not enough, yet such an effort.
Don’t feel bad for the T-Wolves. Still, they’ve won 16 regular-season games the last two seasons, won two district titles the last two seasons and their freshmen just turned in a perfect season.
A fine showing.
Yet the Broncos move on.
Follow me @clayhorning
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