NORMAN — For Norman North, everything has been building to this. The Timberwolves will meet Owasso at 7:30 tonight at Tulsa Union in the Class 6A semifinals, with the winner advancing to meet either Jenks or Tulsa Union in the sate title game.
It’s been a long journey for North, and the Timberwolves have been prepping themselves for this moment all season. From the time the Timberwolves huddled for the first time in the preseason to the regular season finale when they celebrated a district title, the foremost thing on their minds has been to “win in the playoffs.” It’s a goal that has been stressed at every step along the way, including at Thanksgiving week practices.
The buildup began long before this season, further back even than coach Wade Standley’s arrival last year.
“Most of us came together back in our freshman year,” senior Beau Proctor said. “That’s when we started to come together as a family. We’ve been preparing for this moment since then.”
Of course, Standley’s arrival last season may have been the biggest factor in North’s turnaround. Just two years removed from a 3-7 season, the Timberwolves are now 11-1 and one game away from playing for a state title.
To get there, North will have to go through Owasso (9-2), an offensive powerhouse that put up big numbers in a 35-15 victory over Norman High last week.
The Rams bring in a potent offense led by senior Jaylen Lowe, who accounted for four touchdowns last week.
The dual-threat quarterback is just the tip of the iceberg for Owasso, which has a stud feature back in Scottie Prealow and a talented corps of receivers led by Cole Neph.
But to Standley, it’s not about Owasso, no matter how athletic or talented the Rams may be. Instead, it’s all about North and playing “T-Wolves football.” In other words, the same thing it’s been about all year.
“This group has gotten more determined after each win,” Standley said. “Every win has given them more confidence and they’ve gotten better every week. They have tremendous heart, character and work ethic.”
So far, playing T-Wolves football has meant coming up with big plays at timely moments. And most players on the roster have stepped up at different times when their team needed them. It was senior linebacker Jordan Evans who came up with the biggest play last week, a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown that put North on the board and set the tone in the T-Wolves’ 24-16 upset victory over Broken Arrow.
Evans fully expects himself or one of his teammates to step up tonight, no matter what the situation may bring.
“We have the confidence that we’re going to win every time we step on the field,” he said. “We’re going to take care of our business and play our brand of football. We’re going to keep this going as long as possible, and that means two more wins.”
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com