NORMAN — It started with a long talk after Norman North’s run to the state championship a year ago. Senior quarterback Peyton Gavras pulled aside backup quarterback John Kolar and told the sophomore everything he knew about being the Timberwolves’ quarterback. About always staying focused. About not getting too high or too low. About the pressure and leadership that comes with the position.
Kolar thought he was ready, and he worked hard in intense workouts to make sure he would be. The Timberwolves lost a multitude of key players from the state runner-up team, but Kolar hoped he would become one of the leaders of a new group of Timberwolves bent on continuing the program’s excellence.
One day, 11 months ago, everything changed for Kolar.
David Cornwell transferred in from Jones. The 6-5, 235-pound quarterback prodigy was widely considered one of the best recruits in the nation. He won a lengthy eligibility fight with the OSSAA and would make his Class 6A debut with the Timberwolves.
It was a frustrating day for Kolar, who would eventually move to wide receiver as Alabama commit Cornwell won the starting job.
“It was really hard at first,” Kolar said. “I was preparing to be the starting quarterback, and what are the odds that one of the top prospects in the country comes here?”
Those first few days were tough, but Kolar quickly got over his frustration. He worked with North offensive coordinator Brent Barnes to stay prepared to step in at quarterback if needed, and threw himself into his new role at receiver.
“He’s always been a team-first guy that works hard every day,” coach Wade Standley said. “He was never a backup. He started receiver for us and was a huge part of our offense. He does all the little things right.”