NORMAN — There were plenty of encouraging signs for Norman North in Week 1’s narrow loss to Norman High. Those signs came to fruition last week in a wild and impressive victory over Del City.
Now, entering a 7 p.m. showdown with No. 8 Westmoore today at Harve Collins Field, the Timberwolves will need to put it all together, a challenge they’re excited to take.
“We’ve got to bring our A-game and play our best game of the year, we know that,” coach Wade Standley said.
Tenth-ranked North (1-1) has yet to beat coach Billy Langford’s Jaguars (2-0) since Standley arrived three years ago. Westmoore also is the only team in the state that can claim its beaten North twice under Standley.
Both teams are usually good, and their annual non-district game has developed into a tightly contested rivalry and a turning point for the Timberwolves. Two years ago quarterback Peyton Gavras went out with a concussion and sat out the rest of the season, allowing Channing Meyer an opportunity to take snaps under center. That shaped the rest of the season and carried over into last year’s squad, where both quarterbacks spent time taking snaps.
Last year, Westmoore was the only team to beat North before it eventually fell to Jenks in the state championship game. The loss energized the Timberwolves, who bounced back by going on a tear in district play that would carry them all the way up to the season’s final game.
It remains to be seen if tonight’s game will carry the same weight. North started eight sophomores last week and is building for the future, meaning both years ahead as well as for district play this season, while Westmoore is riding high after securing the Moore city championship with last week’s victory over Southmoore.
The Jags have plenty of reasons to be confident. Even without star junior receiver Lexus Lee, they’ve been putting up points and dominating the offensive side of the ball. Much of that credit goes to first-year starters Bryson Lee, at quarterback, and Dahu Green, at receiver. The two hooked up twice for scores last week as Green led the team with seven catches for 73 yards in the win.
North’s biggest weakness this season has been its defense. A young group, the T-Wolves have improved every week since the preseason but will face what could be their toughest opponent tonight. With the weapons North brings on offense, it’s a game that is expected to turn into a shootout.
“Some of our guys have been thrown into the fire, and they’re handling that adversity,” Standley said. “We’ve got to be active on defense and run to the ball to slow them down.”
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