By Jeff Johncox

Transcript Sports Writer

Norman North’s Senior Night victory over Lawton Friday may have looked like a blowout on the scoreboard, but things were a bit more interesting on the field.

Sure, the Timberwolves won 39-17, securing second place in District 6A-1 and earning a home playoff game Friday against Edmond Memorial. And sure, by the end of the fourth quarter North players were high-fiving and jumping up and down on the sidelines.

But for a while there, the T-Wolves looked a lot like the team that lost two games in a row in October, the team that went up to Del City and was upset by a squad that didn’t even make the playoffs.

With 11:01 left in the third quarter, after Tyler Tettleton’s second interception of the game, the Wolverines took a 17-10 lead on North. Then it was as if the T-Wolves collectively looked up at the scoreboard and realized “Hey, we should be winning this game!”

“It’s not a lack of effort,” North senior receiver Josh Norton said. “Maybe it’s a lack of intensity. We just didn’t come out with the intensity we needed to win a football game.”

Or maybe the T-Wolves just rested on their laurels a bit.

They came out of the gate looking like they were ready to run all over Lawton. They made a couple big plays on defense and a quick 7-0 lead.

But that’s when the wheels fell off for a while.

“I was upset at halftime, not because we were playing a bad team, Lawton is a very good team, but because we were kind of fumbling around and we weren’t taking care of business,” North coach Lance Manning said.

Tettleton’s interceptions hurt, as did a fumbled punt by Kyle Wormington, who two weeks ago returned two punts for touchdowns against Southmoore.

But the biggest thing wrong with the T-Wolves was lack of intensity. They weren’t fired up. They were lackadaisical on the field and quiet on the sidelines.

Maybe it’s because they expected to win.

When they went to Muskogee in week 2, winning on the road in front of a packed house full of opposing fans, they were champing at the bit to get a piece of the Roughers.

Of course, that probably had a lot to do with the fact Muskogee had knocked North out of the playoffs the past two seasons and had beat the T-Wolves twice in the regular season, too.

Manning’s been preaching to his squad to treat every game like a big game, and there was a home playoff game on the line against the Wolverines. For whatever reason, the T-Wolves just played flat.

“Obviously, when our intensity is up, we’re a much better football team and one capable of winning a championship,” Norton said.

They probably are.

Finally, after seeing themselves down 17-10 at home on Senior Night, the T-Wolves woke up. They scored 29 straight points, were flying all over the field defensively and running all over the field on offense.

“I waited for us to make a big push,” Manning said. “We did. We took care of business. But everyone’s good from here on out, and we need to get rid of some of those valleys we go through and play hard all four quarters.”

If they’re able to figure out how to keep their intensity level up, maybe the T-Wolves can still make a run at that gold ball they covet.

That was their goal at the beginning of the season and starting off at The Harve doesn’t hurt.

“It’s definitely a confidence booster to be at home in front of our fans,” Norton said. “Our fans are wild and they’re going to be ready for it. I’m excited. I really want to go win a gold ball this year.”

It all starts with intensity, and, hopefully for North, the T-Wolves can live up to their fans’ examples.



jjohncox@normantranscript.com

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