By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Norman North coach Wade Standley’s favored approach to the season is to “look at it one game at a time.” The third-year coach doesn’t like to put any more significance on any one game, past or present, than any other.
He described last week’s victory over undefeated No. 10 Midwest City — an exciting contest with a dramatic last-second field goal that gave the Timberwolves a three-point victory — as just another win, despite it easily being North’s most impressive victory of the season, and the biggest win of many of its young players’ careers.
But there is no denying that today’s 7 p.m. road contest with No. 8 Yukon (3-1, 1-0) could be more than just another game for the Timberwolves.
Entering the district portion of the schedule, Midwest City was widely tabbed as the favorite to win District 6A-3 and prevent the Timberwolves from repeating. The only team that was expected to give the Bombers a run was Yukon.
But North’s impressive win a week ago flipped that theory on its head. If the Timberwolves can get past Yukon, the most daunting game remaining on the schedule is an Oct. 18 contest at Edmond North (2-2, 1-0). Besides that, the four remaining teams on the schedule are a combined 2-14.
That means a win tonight puts North into the driver’s seat to repeat as district champions. Quarterback David Cornwell said the Timberwolves were approaching the game as “a district championship,” and he may be right. Midwest City and Yukon were the two toughest teams remaining on North’s schedule, and after the dramatic start to that stretch the T-Wolves are in a position this week to give themselves control of their own destiny the rest of the way.
Standley calls every district game another step on the ladder, and any scenario that sees North running away with the district title starts with a win tonight over a team that’s only grown more impressive as the season has progressed. The Millers’ spread offense is led by quarterback Hayden Somerville and haven’t much trouble putting up points this season, scoring 116 points through four games. Yukon’s only loss of the season came to No. 6 Edmond Santa Fe in a two-touchdown defeat, and the Millers own impressive victories over Norman High and Mustang.
North’s offense has proven this season it has the tools to score on anyone it faces, and tonight’s game could turn into a shootout similar to last week’s. That’s the situation where the Timberwolves excel, but it’s one Standley hopes they can avoid, thanks to an ever-improving defense.
“Last week we were able to force a couple of turnovers and we held them to just 26 yards rushing,” he said. “We’ll have to bring our A-game again this week. That means executing on offense and eliminating the big plays on defense.”
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