NORMAN — The numbers for senior linebacker Jordan Evans, who also handles punt and kick return duties for Norman North, are impressive. He’s scored four touchdowns this season on returns, none more impressive than last week’s big runback against Broken Arrow that set the tone of the game.
But even the touchdown numbers don’t tell the whole story. Evans has seven returns for at least 40 yards this season, with five of those coming on returns of 70 yards or more. And they’ve seem to come at opportune times. Along with the touchdown last week against Broken Arrow, Evans also had a 70-yard return against Norman High in the season opener that put the T-Wolves in position to retake the lead with less than a minute left.
All of which means Owasso is likely to try to keep the ball out of his hands on Friday.
“I know they have a good kicker, but he knows if he makes one mistake I’m going to have a chance,” Evans said. “I hope they end up kicking it to me.”
Special teams a strength for T-Wolves: It wasn’t just Evans who made an impact on special teams in last week’s 24-16 win over Broken Arrow. Coach Wade Standley also pointed to his kicker Redford Jones, whose strong leg gives North a big advantage when it’s time to kick it.
“He did a great job flipping the field for us last week,” Standley said. “That’s something that’s really big in close games in the playoffs.”
Standley keeping approach simple: One of Standley’s favorite mantras is “it’s about us.” It’s a phrase he invokes regularly, and it’s a concept he reinforces every day in practice.
Heading into the biggest game of the year, Standley’s not changing anything up. Practice plans are still focused on the Timberwolves and what they need to do to improve rather than worrying about all the intricacies or curveballs the Owasso coaches may bring to the field Friday.
“We’re not taking this week any different,” he said. “It’s always about us and about us having a great week of practice. We’ll work to be ready for the different things they do, but we’re more worried about us.”
Hitching a ride:School administrators are doing their best to make it easy for students to make the trip.
School officials have charted a veritable fleet of buses to transport students to and from the game. That includes the usual two for the football team, three for the band, one of the pom and cheer squads, and at least 10 for the rest of the student body.
“We have 550 kids, at least, going to the game to support the team,” North principal Brian Young said. “Everyone’s leaving the school at 2:25 and the booster club is providing hamburgers and hot dogs once they get there.”
T-Wolves not concerned about road trip: For the first time this postseason, Norman North will have to go on the road to play a game, and that means a two-hour trip to Tulsa Union for Friday’s Class 6A semifinal game. And because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Timberwolves will also be out of class. It’s enough to disrupt a team’s usual routine, but that’s not something the T-Wolves are worried about.
“We had a similar routine in Week 10 when we had to go down to Lawton, so we know what to expect,” Standley said.
It also helps that North made this exact trip during the preseason, when the Timberwolves went to Union for a scrimmage.
“We’ve played on that field already this year,” linebacker Jordan Evans said. “And no matter where they line up the ball, we just have to go out and play and handle our business.”
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com