EDMOND — When the season began, at least in the western half of the state, District 6A-1 looked like the best loop and, for many, Deer Creek appeared to be the best team in it.
“Everyone was saying that we couldn’t beat them, that we didn’t have a chance, so we really wanted to,” Norman North forward Narissa Fults said.
Friday night, away from home, North beat them 3-2.
The Timberwolves very nearly didn’t. In fact, they very nearly didn’t get the chance, needing a goal in the final minute to force overtime, before needing a goal in the final two minutes of double overtime to avoid a penalty kick shootout.
Fults sent it to overtime.
Just 47 seconds remained in regulation when she wheeled, from about 12 yards in the center of penalty box, and beat Deer Creek goalkeeper Camryn Hasselwander, tying the game.
“There wasn’t that much time,” she said, “so I just shot it.”
Just 1:53 remained in the second overtime period — the first period North enjoyed a strong wind at its back since the first half — when Fults won the game, scoring a goal like she’d never scored one before in her life.
“Jada headed it and I was on the keeper, so the keeper couldn’t really see the ball,” Fults said. “Then I chested it in.”
If Hasselwander was standing on the goal line, Fults was standing only a few feet off it when she deflected the ball into the net.
The play began with a corner kick from Meredith McAlester. That ball found Jada Ryan’s head and Fults found a way to redirect it, handing the T-Wolves their victory.
The win moved North to 10-0 overall and 5-0 in the district. Deer Creek fell to 8-4 and 4-1, having previous suffered losses to Edmond North, Mustang and Jenks.
The T-Wolves’ victory puts them very close to a district championship.
North plays host to Midwest City on Tuesday, a contest that shouldn’t be competitive, before the regular season concludes at Yukon three days later. The Millers are 9-3 and 4-1 in the district, their lone loop loss a 3-0 setback to Deer Creek.
North coach Trevor Laffoon left the pitch feeling two things. One, he was quite pleased with his players.
“For us to come back … super proud of them, obviously,” he said. “We worked super hard.”
Simultaneously, he was thinking the game need not have been so close.
“We just have to focus,” he said. “To be honest, we gave up some horrible goals today … I would say that, possession wise, we weren’t great today either.”
North scored first, 17 minutes into the game, when Meredith McAlester took the first shot of the sequence.
It bounced off an Antler defender, only to roll toward the foot of Presslee Amick, who ripped a right-footed offering from the top of the penalty box, off the crossbar and down to the ground, contacting the artificial surface about 18 inches beyond the goal line.
Deer Creek tied it 4 minutes later off a 27-yard free kick from Ava Pitt.
A weird tally, North keeper Mallory Osborn became trapped trying to play the deflection from an Antler forward who ended up whiffing on the ball, but whose distraction opened the net for the goal.
Deer Creek went up 2-1 in the second half’s seventh minute, getting a goal-scorer’s goal from Ileana Ferguson, who controlled the ball, dribbling left near the top of the box before finding just enough room to squeeze off a laser of a left-footed shot that didn’t go past Osborn so much as through her, the ball just too hot to handle.
But Fults had two big goals left in her, her team remains unbeaten and it’s in the driver’s seat for a district championship.