By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
MUSTANG — The biggest name for Norman North may not have shown up able to play, but one group — one that could possibly even be more important for the Timberwolves — did.
The T-Wolves defense stopped Southmoore on three consecutive fourth-down plays as North walked out of the two-quarter scrimmage with a 7-0 victory. It was the last scrimmage before North opens the season next Thursday with NHS and came in a fashion reminiscent of last year’s state runner-up squad.
North quarterback David Cornwell, who made his Timberwolves’ debut in an impressive performance against Edmond Santa Fe last week before injuring his ankle on a goal-line play, didn’t suit up on Thursday. Coach Wade Standley said before the scrimmage that Cornwell’s status was uncertain, and though he had noticeably improved since then, coaches didn’t feel comfortable risking aggravating the injury a week before the season opener.
While Cornwell was out, the T-Wolves made up for it on the other side of the ball. Even without a single starter from last year’s team on the field Thursday, the Timberwolves did what they’ve done best in three seasons under Standley: play solid defense. They had some trouble with Southmoore’s power rushing game, but on three straight possessions were able to stuff the SaberCats when it mattered.
“Seeing them fly to the football, that’s what I’m excited about,” Standley said of the unit. “I loved the intensity. We got better this week.”
While the defense sealed the game, backup quarterback John Kolar showed he had what it took to march the team down the field. While the Timberwolves ended up with many fewer possessions than last week’s extended scrimmage, they were effective when they did have it.
The lone score of the game came early when Kolar found wide receiver Nick Basquine on a short route in the end zone. The T-Wolves also had solid contributions again from sophomore running back Quan Hogan, who has shown in two weeks of scrimmages that he’s ready to carry much of the load for North.
“John Kolar did a great job coming in and managing the football game,” Standley said. “And Quan continues to get better each week.”
After a disappointing loss last week, North returned to the practice field with a renewed intensity and, more importantly, a little more experience. That made the difference on Thursday, senior Payton Prince said.
“We had to give 100 percent in practice this week, and everyone did that,” he said. “The defense stepped up, John stepped up and Nick stepped up again for us. It was incredible how much we worked in practice this week, and it showed tonight.”
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