NORMAN — Several times during North’s 49-42 victory over Owasso in the Class 6A semifinals, it looked like the T-Wolves might run away with the game, especially after jumping out to a 21-0 lead.
Of course, at other times, especially when Owasso took its first lead of the game, it looked like the Rams might roll over the Timberwolves.
It was a game clearly defined by momentum shifts. And those shifts came clearly on several different plays.
The first came midway through the first quarter. The Rams looked like they could be the first to get on the board after intercepting a Peyton Gavras pass in the end zone, but North’s defense stepped up to force a punt. And that punt would set in motion the drive that gave the Timberwolves the lead.
Bryan Payne took the kick at North’s 35, and tore off down the right side of the field. After picking up a few blocks, he snuck behind one and cut the ball back toward the middle of the field, where he eluded several tacklers before finally going down at the Owasso 46. That gave the Timberwolves the momentum they needed, and several plays later Peyton Gavras found Corbin Cleveland with a perfectly thrown pass 29 yards downfield to put North on top.
The next big swing came five minutes into the second quarter. After holding Owasso to another three-and-out, North nearly blocked the punt. But the Timberwolves didn’t quite make it to the ball in time, and instead were hit with a roughing the kicker penalty.
That set things in motion for Owasso. Rams quarterback Jaylen Lowe made consecutive 12-yard completions, and a late hit penalty cost North another 15 yards. On the next play, Lowe deftly eluded one rusher before finding Cole Neph in the end zone for a 26-yard pass that put the Rams on the board and spurred their comeback.
“We knew they were good offensively, and we knew they were going to make some plays,” senior linebacker Jordan Evans said. “We just had to keep calm and keep playing our game.”
And North would eventually turn the tables on Owasso. After fighting back to tie the game at 42 in the fourth quarter, North needed to stop Owasso on a fourth-and-goal from the two. Samory Collier took a handoff toward the outside, where he met linebacker DJ Gasso in a fierce collision. Gasso drove Collier back, allowing North to take over the ball and the game.
“It was such a back-and-forth game,” coach Wade Standley said. “They made some incredible plays, but our defense stepped up when it mattered.”
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com