NORMAN — When Norman North gathers in the huddle before the start of every quarter, the Timberwolves group around their leaders and shout in unison a very simple phrase that has come to mean much as this season has progressed.
It’s been coach Wade Standley’s trademark since he came to Norman last year, and it’s a simple concept that the T-Wolves have embraced. From asking the quarterbacks to split time under center to bringing in the linebacking corps to fill in for an injury-riddled run game to putting the ball into the hands of freshman Quan Hogan against Edmond North with a district title on the line, the Timberwolves have been more than willing to do whatever it takes to win.
And win they have. North was expected to improve on last season’s playoff team, but few predicted the Timberwolves would rise this far in Standley’s second year the helm. With last week’s convincing victory over then-No. 3 Edmond North, the Timberwolves have a legitimate claim at being the best team from this side of the state. And with last week’s win, they are now the favorites to win District 6A-3.
“This team, and the seniors in particular, have a tremendous amount of heart and character,” Standley said. “There’s no quit in them.”
That attitude had paid off so far. After a Week 3 loss to Westmoore in which the T-wolves were unable to run the ball, they turned to linebacker Jordan Evans and the Wildcat formation. That added a new element to the North offense, and the T-Wolves have looked like one of the best teams in the state ever since.
The Timberwolves’ goal this season is to win in the playoffs. But along the way they also want to win a district championship and host a playoff game. That’s a goal that’s firmly in reach, though the T-Wolves likely need to win out to ensure a title.
And that path begins tonight, when North travels to face a dangerous Putnam City North squad on the road.
Putnam City North (5-2, 3-1) has been the surprise team of the district. After going 4-6 a year ago, the Panthers have been much improved this season and own wins over Moore and rivals Putnam City this season.
“They’re a good football team,” Standley said of the Panthers. “They’ve got guys who can make you miss and then take it to the house when you do.”
But Standley expects his team to be on guard against sort of a letdown after last week’s big win. Their goals are bigger than any single game, and the team’s strong senior class will keep the underclassmen on track.
“We still have to take care of our business,” Evans said. “We know now there are increased expectations on us, but we know what we can do.”