The competition wasn't even Thursday night at Putnam City Stadium.
But the respect was evident.
Putnam City North cruised to a 49-21 victory over Northwest Classen after bolting to a 42-0 halftime lead.
North coach Bob Wilson said he was happy to get his starters off the field early in the second quarter so they could rest for next week's first- round playoff game.
"My admiration goes to coach (Kenny) Blair, Wilson said of the Northwest coach. "It's real easy to compete when you're 10-0. They way those kids compete, Coach Blair has those kids believing in themselves.
Northwest finished a 1-9 season, losing all seven of its District 6A-2 games by an average 41.7 points.
"They could have folded a long time ago, Blair said of his players.
Northwest didn't fold Thursday. The Knights outscored Putnam North 21-7 in the second half behind three touchdown runs from quarterback Corey Dizer.
Unfortunately, the game was out of reach midway through the first quarter. Putnam North running back Deji Karim scored on the second play from scrimmage. On the next drive, Karim scored again ... then again ... and again.
"We think he's as good as there is around, Wilson said after Karim's five-touchdown performance.Archive ID: 1572664