NORMAN — It wasn’t the ending the Timberwolves were looking for, but that didn’t diminish the historic season Norman North put together this year — a historic season that, in large part, was thanks to a talented senior class.
It was a season of firsts for North. The Timberwolves advanced to the first state championship in program history. They won a district title and put together more wins than any other North squad. They were the first west-side team to advance to the state championship since 2005.
All are accomplishments that may not be duplicated for some time. And coach Wade Standley gives the credit for that to his players, including the 31 seniors on this year’s team.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these seniors,” he said. “They’re great leaders and they have great heart and great character. That group of seniors has accomplished more than any group before them.”
This year, Standley’s team reached its goal of playing for championships. That goal won’t change next season, even as the T-Wolves rebuild. Nor will it change as long as Standley is the coach. Thanks to this year’s team, it’s a goal that will seem a little more feasible for every T-Wolves team to come.
“These guys set an incredible foundation for the program going forward,” Standley said. “It was a great year for this football team, and there’s no question they did everything we asked of them. We talked all along about playing for championships, and that’s what we did this year.”
It’s not all they did. Taking over a team that went 3-7 two years ago, Standley led a turnaround effort a year ago, taking North to a 6-4 regular-season finish and a surprise playoff berth.
With all 11 starters returning on defense and a number on offense as well, that set up this year’s squad, which overachieved from the preseason when they beat west-side favorite Edmond Santa Fe in a preseason scrimmage. That led to a dominant regular season, marred only by a Week 3 loss to Westmoore that gave North the District 6A-3 title.
But even that was just a prelude to the playoffs, when North found ways to win, even in games against east-side powers Broken Arrow and Owasso. That pair of upsets put North into the first-ever state final.
Even in defeat, North senior Jaxon Uhles was able to reflect on how important this season was to both the outgoing seniors and to the program they leave behind.
“It’s been something special,” he said. “We played our hearts out this year. We did all we could do, and we have no regrets.”