NORMAN — Here the Norman North boys are again, playing for another Class 6A state soccer championship, their second in two years and their third in four.
This season is different, but aren’t they all?
Unlike last season, the T-Wolves have lost this season. Unlike many other seasons, they have lost not once, but three times. Also, unlike so many other campaigns, one of those losses was to Norman High. Perhaps never have the Crosstown Clash rivals been so close, needing two shootouts to decide two games.
Also, it’s very much like other seasons.
At 1 p.m. today at Noble High School, North will go looking for its fifth state championship in Oklahoma’s largest high school class.
On the face of it, this season is thus far very much like 2000, 2003, 2010 and 2012, not to mention 2008, when the T-Wolves finished runner-up to Edmond Memorial.
North, 13-3, was ranked No. 5 the last time the Class 6A coaches bothered to vote. The opponent, Edmond North (one state title, 2004), is 14-2 and No. 1.
There is a desire to define the T-Wolves.
There is one clear star in Mauro Cichero, with his 22 goals in 16 games, the vast majority tallied since district play began. Also, it’s a team of seniors, 11 in all, many of whom became starters for the first time last season and only one of whom, Ashton Bray, played what might be considered a big role by the time he was a sophomore.
If there is one star, it goes to figure, there’s not a team of them, thus leaving a squad built on intangibles, like hard work and chemistry.
“We just work hard and everything goes our way,” senior forward Jonathan Newton said. “All the forwards work well together, all the midfielders work well together and the defense, so everything is just organized … The chemistry between the players is just phenomenal this year.”