YUKON — Norman North coach Wade Standley couldn't hold it back.
The coach whose happy-go-lucky persona off the field gives way to one of pure fire and intensity on the sideline showed a third side Friday night, trying to fight back tears as he spoke about his team's last-second 45-42 win over Yukon at Miller Stadium.
Over the previous 3 1/2 hours, Standley had seen his star quarterback and Alabama commit, David Cornwell, go out with a knee injury, then stood by as tight end Tyler Sipe lay face down on the turf for nearly 30 minutes before being carted off on a stretcher.
And when everything appeared to be unraveling around the Timberwolves, Standley's team fought back to put a happy ending on a dramatic and emotional Friday night.
A week after making a 43-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired to beat Midwest City 45-42, Norman North kicker Jake Edzards found himself back on the field, this time 35 yards away, with the score once again tied at 42.
And like a week ago, Edzards knocked the game-winner through the uprights.
“It was just heart and soul, man. These guys just showed a tremendous amount of character,” Standley said, choking up as he spoke. “It's about the T-Wolves, man. That's what these guys play for. Not the name on the back of the jersey. They play for the name on the front.”
Getting to the point that Edzards had the opportunity to win the game once again was a spectacle.
Cornwell suffered a right knee injury just before halftime. He was lined up to punt out of the shotgun formation — which he often does — but a bad snap led to the punt getting blocked. Cornwell suffered the injury during the scramble for the ball.
Cornwell was all smiles after the game, walking on crutches with an ice pack on his knee, but declined to talk to reporters. The extent of his injury won't be known until an MRI can be performed in the next couple of days, Standley said.
Reports were good on Sipe after the game. He was moving his extremities, waving to his team as he was taken to an ambulance, and the hospital trip was only precautionary.
Cornwell's departure left junior John Kolar — a 6-foot-4 starting wide receiver — to handle quarterbacking duties in the second half.
After a rough start, Kolar completed nine of his final 10 pass attempts, including a couple of big throws to Nick Basquine, one for a touchdown and another on the drive to set up the winning field goal.
“Ever since David moved in, everyone kept telling me, ‘you're gonna have your chance. You always need to be ready,'” Kolar said. “They put me at receiver, but I was always getting ready to play quarterback every week. My time came tonight, and I just did it to the best of my ability.”
Kolar threw for 162 yards and a touchdown, all in the second half, and Basquine had seven receptions for 153 yards for the game. He scored on a 14-yard pass from Kolar and had a 39-yard touchdown rush in the first half.
Tight end Payton Prince had three rushing touchdowns out of the Timberwolves' direct-snap power package, all from 3 yards or less.
Yukon appeared to have seized control of the game, scoring 21 straight points to open the third quarter. But the Norman North defense, which hadn't stopped much of anything in falling behind 42-28, stiffened in the fourth quarter.
After cutting Yukon's lead to 42-35 with 5:26 to play, the Timberwolves recovered an onside kick that the Millers didn't appear ready for.
Using nearly four minutes of clock, Kolar led Norman North down the field to set up Prince for the tying TD run.
The Timberwolves' defense held, forcing Yukon's first punt of the game with :43 left. Kolar hit Basquine for 42 yards to the Yukon 12 and ran two more plays before Edzards' winning kick.
“John came in in a clutch situation, and was able to make good decisions and command the offense,” Standley said. “That's a tough situation to come into against a good football team. He made plays all night.
“And what a tremendous job by Jake Edzards and the whole team. They hung in there. We had two things we talked about before the game — I will not be afraid, and I will do my job. And they did it.”