TULSA — Jenks is really, really good. I mean, the Trojans just killed Union Friday night. Just killed ‘em. It wasn’t even close.
Who knows if anybody can beat a team like that. Maybe they’re too good. Maybe Oklahoma is a Jenks and Union operation forever and ever and ever.
I don’t know.
Here’s what I know.
Norman North football is what sports at their best are all about. Not because of what the T-Wolves have done, though they’ve done plenty, and not because they’ve beaten the odds, though they’ve surely done that after stopping Owasso 49-42 Friday night at Union-Tuttle stadium, earning a Friday-night trip to Stillwater to take on the mighty Trojans and not because they’ve gone from afterthought to the top of the hill in two short years under coach Wade Standley.
They’re what sports are all about because of the way they make you feel. Like anything’s possible. Like you’re about to see something you haven’t seen before. Like those fantastic fleeting feelings we’re lucky ever to feel don’t have to be fleeting. They can be sustained.
The T-Wolves have sustained it all the way to the season’s 14th week. You can’t take it any further than that.
“We didn’t come to Week 13 just to get beat,” North nose guard Justin Martin said, so that’s clear.
North led 21-0. 21-0!
It was ahead of Owasso at every turn. Defensively, the T-Wolves were in the Ram backfield. Offensively, they bewildered the Rams. And then, by the middle of the third quarter … it looked like there was no way on earth North could possibly win.
In six possessions, from the beginning of the second quarter until 7:27 remained in the third, Owasso scored 42 points. The Rams led 35-28 and 42-35 and were looking a whole lot like the Mountaineers looked in Morgantown last Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium. But they did not score again.
Nobody really had an explanation.
“We bonded together as brothers and we were not going to let this happen,” North linebacker Beau Proctor said.
Martin began with how the T-Wolves didn’t come into Week 13 just to lose and followed with, “Something just clicked in at the end.”
Leave it to Jordan Evans, who brought another kick back and sacked Owasso quarterback Jaylen Lowe on the game’s last play to make some sense of it.
“I really don’t remember,” he said. “I just remember the plays that were made.”
Maybe there was an adjustment. Maybe North’s defensive braintrust figured something out. But more than anything, the T-Wolves just started making plays. And you can take it to the grave, there’s no substitute for making plays.
It began offensively, when Peyton Gavras found Corbin Cleveland for a 43-yard score, and again when North converted a trio of third downs on the way to an 11-play, 46-yard drive that not only tied it up when Jaxon Uhles went in from a yard, but gave the defense some precious rest.
Then North forced Owasso’s first punt since the first quarter. Then, after Gavras was picked off and Owasso drove to the 2, DJ Gasso brought Samory Collier down for a fourth-down loss of 3.
Biggest play of the game until four plays later Gavras hit Jake Higginbotham over the middle for 70-yards and the lead.
Then North’s defense held again, Channing Meyer moving over to defense to intercept a fourth-down pass. Then a Peyton Prince fumble gave Owasso new life at the North 35, but after the Rams got to the 11, Gasso did it again, again on Collier, this time in the air, and on fourth down Meyer broke one up in the end zone.
It was never comfortable. It was never easy. It was never won until it was over, until Evans’ sack. But if it took 15 plays to put it in the books, North made 15 plays. If it was 12, it was 12.
I’m like Evans. I’m not sure what happened, but I remember the plays.
Take a look at the boxscore if you want stats. Gavras tossed for five scores and Owasso picked up more than 500 yards and there were moments it seemed like a track meet.
But the Rams scored 42 points and not one more. And North got there and kept going. And made a bunch of plays.
The T-Wolves were so happy. The students were so happy. The parents were so happy. Some of them couldn’t hold back the tears. You watch it all and you don’t want their team to lose.
Maybe they won’t.
This was North’s day.
Why not one more.
Clay HorningFollow me @firstname.lastname@example.org