NORMAN — It started at Owen Field at the University of Oklahoma. For Norman North, it will end at Boone Pickens Stadium.
The Timberwolves will meet Jenks at 7:30 tonight for the Class 6A championship in a game that no one outside of the North locker room expected them to make it to. North (12-1) is playing in its first-ever championship game, while Jenks (11-2) owns 12 state titles and is looking for its first since 2007.
The sheer weight of Jenks’ history, including the fact that no team besides Jenks and Tulsa Union has won a title since 1995, positions North as a heavy underdog heading into the title tilt. It’s a fact the T-Wolves acknowledge, but not one they’re particularly concerned with.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re against,” senior Channing Meyer said. “We know they’re good and we know it’s not going to be easy. But they’re beatable. They’re not Jesus in pads.”
Divinity they may not be, but the Trojans are certainly football royalty. Jenks has turned out a number of Division I and NFL players, including Rocky Calmus and Lawrence Pinson. The Trojans have won nearly 200 games since 1990 and have only one true in-state rival in Union.
Trey’Vonne Barr’e and Jordan Smallwood, the latter an OU commit and the former a top prospect, are the latest stars at Jenks. Barr’e has rushed for nearly 2,000 yards this year and has been dominant in the playoffs, including keying an offensive barrage that Jenks used to bury Union 41-10 last week.
“It’s going to be a hard-fought game,” North linebacker Jordan Evans said. “We know that. But a lot of people didn’t think anyone could beat an east-side team, and we have. We’re super excited to have another chance to do that and win a title.”
While Jenks, aiming for its first title in five years, may receive much of the hype, North has certainly not played the part of the underdog this season. From his first day on campus a year ago, coach Wade Standley has preached about “playing for championships.”
The Timberwolves bought into that message, and a turnaround season a year ago brought them from an also-ran to a contender to start the season. Behind a strong senior class and no shortage of playmakers, North has lived up to its promise and exceeded expectations at every turn.
That has included a nearly unbelievable playoff run. After dispatching Southmoore as expected in the first round, the Timberwolves have upset two east-side behemoths in Broken and Owasso.
That may explain why, for Meyer and the rest of the Timberwolves, Union’s and Jenks’ stranglehold on the title is just the latest obstacle to overcome in a season full of them.
“We couldn’t care less who we play,” Meyer said. “We’re not worried about the streak or what anyone says. That’s a big deal for other people watching the game, but not for us. We expect to come out with the gold ball.”
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com