NORMAN — It was the kick that shook the city.
Norman North’s Jake Edzards connected on a 43-yard field goal as time expired against Midwest City Friday night, giving the Timberwolves the 45-42 victory and maybe the boost they needed to defend their District 6A-3 title.
North entered Friday’s contest reeling on defense, both from injuries and a lack of stops. The T-Wolves gave up more than 600 yards of offense to Westmoore a week ago and seemed in danger of doing so again against the Bombers. Midwest City entered the contest undefeated and was the toast of the state after the 3-0 start that included an opening-week win over No. 4 Edmond Santa Fe (though not quarterback and Oklahoma commit Justice Hansen, who sat out that game with an injury). Midwest City was the favorite to walk away with the District 6A-3 title, and entering the game North was thought to be a playoff team but not in the race to defend their crown.
With one kick, everything changed, and the North faithful got a glimpse of the Timberwolves magic that carried them into the state title game a year ago.
“I didn’t want to think about it or get nervous, but obviously there’s some nerves there,” Edzards said after game, accurately summing up how the entire stadium felt after Midwest City drove into North territory in the game’s final minutes to score and convert a two-point conversion to tie the contest at 42.
Luckily for the T-Wolves, Edzards had 43 in him.
The senior said he was kicking field goals from close to 50 yards in pre-game warmups, a promising sign but one that everyone knows means nothing until the lights and the pressure are on and the defense is jumping into your face.
But he came through, as did sophomore running back Quan Hogan, who returned the Midwest City kick into Bomber territory to set up the final drive. As did quarterback David Cornwell, who scrambled and ran the ball out of bounds with two seconds remaining to set up the kick.
The defense is improving. The T-Wolves recorded five sacks on Friday and were more solid in their schemes. The young players on the roster will continue to learn and mature, and the injuries will heal.
Not everything is not fixed at North. The offense is still explosive and the defense still porous. The team is 2-2 and may get hit by a dose of reality when they travel to Yukon on Friday. The Millers are 3-1, ranked No. 8 in the state and bring an explosive spread offense to the field.
Then again, the T-Wolves may surprise everyone. Again. They’ve got the talent, the coaching and the heart and the hustle needed to turn a 1-2 start into a repeat district championship. They’ve also got a kicker who isn’t afraid of the moment.
And - maybe most importantly - they’ve got a taste of just how good they can be.
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