NORMAN — Norman North was up 17-7, and quarterback Peyton Gavras was a big reason why. After winning the starting job just days before the season opener, Gavras was growing in his role as North’s starting quarterback.
The junior was primed to lead the T-Wolves’ offense into the end zone. He took a snap at the 7-yard line and took off toward the outside. A Westmoore defender broke through the line and hit the signal-caller hard. He got back up slowly, trotted to the sideline, and moments later slumped to the ground. He didn’t return, and Westmoore went on to defeat North, 28-17.
It was Sept. 16, 2011, and the concussion knocked Gavras out for the better part of the season. When he finally returned in the last game of the regular season, he found himself splitting time under center with Channing Meyer, the former JV player who led the T-Wolves to the playoffs in Gavras’ absence.
Fast forward a year. The road back to the field wasn’t easy for Gavras, and he again found himself locked in a preseason quarterback battle, this time with Meyer. The two would end up again splitting time in the backfield to create a formidable challenge for opposing defenses. A few weeks ago, linebacker Jordan Evans joined the rotation, giving North another running option in a Wildcat-style formation.
But it has been Gavras who has been at the forefront of North’s 4-1 start, and showed exactly why that is in last week’s 34-28 squeaker over district rival Yukon. The senior completed 26 of his 41 passes for two touchdowns and didn’t throw an interception on the night. And he could have been even better, if not for more than a hundred yards in dropped passes.
North will again look to Gavras to lead the offense when the T-Wolves try to stay undefeated in district play when they travel to Grant (1-4) tonight for a 7 p.m. contest.
“You see him maturing in front of your eyes,” coach Wade Standley said. “He’s getting better every week. For him to string some good games together like this is really good for his confidence.”
Confidence, or perhaps more accurately self-assurance, is not something Gavras lacks. He may be quiet off the field, but when he speaks his poise is evident, just as it is on the field. With North’s multiple formations on offense, Gavras never knows if he’s going to be on the field for the next snap. It’s something that would rattle the confidence of many quarterbacks, but something he calmly takes in stride.
“I know my role as a quarterback,” he said. “I’m out there to make smart decisions and do my job, but I don’t worry about not being out there every play. If I’m on the field, I’ll do what I can do. If I’m not, the coaches have a reason for that.”
It’s that sentiment that makes Gavras the “ultimate team player,” his coach said.
“He always puts the team first,” Standley said. “And he’s always ready when he’s called. As he continues to progress it opens up the throwing game for us, and that opens up the running. It brings another dimension to our offense.”
As the accolades begin to accumulate for Gavras, who hopes to continue playing football next year wherever he attends college, it’s easy for him to keep things in perspective.
“I was joking with the guys after this year’s Westmoore game that I’ve already made it farther than last year,” he said. “After the year off, it’s nice to be out there and find that groove and rhythm more and more each week. It’s been a good senior year so far.”
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com