NORMAN — The gruff, relentlessly demanding and fairly self-realized coach that is Geo Claros, leader of the North boys, who has now coached a trio of state champion teams of Timberwolves, was spotted smiling Saturday evening at Oklahoma’s John Crain Field
“I love it for the kids even more than I do for myself. I enjoy it, but when you push these kids so hard, you do it so they can see this reward,” he said. “I love sitting back and seeing how happy they are and proud of themselves and they deserve it. They’ve been the best team all year and they put an exclamation point on it tonight.”
And, if you’re enjoying hearing Claros praise his team, go ahead and pull out a highlighter and run it over that particular word: team.
Because on the way to beating Owasso 2-0, a victory that made it five state titles for the program, three of them since 2010, the Timberwolves not only proved themselves to be the better team, but also the more composed team, the more honorable team, even the more look-out-for-each-other team.
Yes, it’s possible for a mere collection of talent to deliver a championship, but North proved itself to be so much better, deeper and connected than any collage of athletic gifts.
It began with how the T-Wolves put their goals on the board, getting huge plays from Seth Liddell, Sage Moore and Ethan Dvorak; and how they kept the ball out of their own goal, with big recoveries from Liddell and Jake Neighbors.
Those efforts, from the rank and file, proved the depth. Restraint, but only so much of it, proved the honor.
“The whole second half they were just kind of taking free shots at us,” North defender Jacob Jerles said.