NORMAN — With just two games to play, the race for the District 6A-3 title is tighter than it has been all season. There’s a three-way tie atop the standings, and it could be anyone’s title by the time all is said and done.
That’s just the position that Norman North has thrived in this season. The Timberwolves lost to upstart Putnam City North last week, creating the three-way tie at the top between Norman North, Putnam City North and Edmond North. Each team owns a victory and a loss to one of the others, and the race will come down the final minutes.
Norman North is familiar with tight races. The Timberwolves have been in close game after close game this season and come out on top nearly every time. That includes last-second victories over Midwest City and Yukon — both of whom were ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game — on long field goals by Jake Edzards.
“This team just keeps fighting and finds ways to win,” Payton Prince said after the Timberwolves defeated Edmond North even after losing starting quarterback David Cornwell to a season-ending knee injury.
Tight games early and game-changing plays late; It was a formula that had Norman North on track to repeating as champions before last week’s surprise setback against Putnam City North, a team that has caught fire in the past month to jump into what was expected to be a two-team race.
Now, with three teams tied at 4-1 in the district, something could give and give any of the three teams the title courtesy of their head-to-head victory over the others. Or not: if all three schools win out, the tiebreaker used is district points. Teams are awarded up to or minus 15 points based on margin of victory in every district game. The team with the highest cumulative total wins the tiebreaker in the event that a head-to-head result is not applicable.
If all three teams win out, it’s not a system that benefits the Timberwolves as of yet. The T-Wolves have a total of 18 district points, while Putnam City North has 19 and Edmond North has 49.
The outlook isn’t great for Norman North, but the Timberwolves have pulled off more than one improbable comeback this season, from rallying from 14 points down to Yukon or regrouping around backup quarterback John Kolar, who has been quietly efficient since taking over for Cornwell a month ago.
Now, the Timberwolves will either need some help in the form of a Putnam City North loss or a reversal of the district points tiebreaker. And with the remaining schedule the three teams have, it’s possible the T-Wolves have one more big comeback left in them.
Norman North faces Moore and Lawton Eisenhower, two teams with a combined record of 4-12, in the final two weeks. Putnam City North has games against Lawton Eisenhower and Yukon (4-3, 2-3), while Edmond North squares off against Midwest City (6-2, 3-2) and winless US Grant.
Not that Norman North coach Wade Standley is worrying about what those other teams are doing. None of that matters unless the Timberwolves win out, beginning with Friday’s contest at Moore.
“The only thing we can control is what we do,” Standley said. “Nothing changes for us. We’ve got to come back and get better and play our best game.”
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