NORMAN — On a night when the Putnam City North defense neutralized the big arm of Norman North quarterback John Kolar, defensive back Michael Wofford stood out for the opportunistic Panthers.
Friday night at Harve Collins Field, Wofford returned a Kolar fumble for a touchdown and swiped a Kolar pass that led to another score as Putnam City North spoiled homecoming for Norman North with a 31-21 win. The Panthers jumped out to a 21-0 lead and then withstood a second-half rally to claim a share of first place in District 6A-3. The Panthers (4-4, 4-1) are tied at the top with Norman North (5-3, 4-1) and Edmond North.
Kolar had by far his worst performance since taking over for injured David Cornwell, completing 21 of 39 passes for 188 yards. He misfired on several passes and his receivers dropped their share of balls.
The offense racked up 444 yards of total offense and 22 first downs, but turned the ball over three times inside the Putnam City North 10-year-line in the second half, twice on downs and once on a fumble that was picked up by Dylan Peavy and returned 93 yards for a touchdown to make the score 28-7. Penalties also plagued the Timberwolves, who were flagged 11 times for 117 times, including once for unsportsmanlike conduct that led to a Putnam City North field goal to ice the game.
“We didn't make enough big plays to win the game,” said Norman North coach Wade Standley. “Hats off to Putnam City North. They made plays when they needed them.”
The Panthers were led by the steady play of quarterback Chase Sparks, receiver Kaedyn Fuller and running back Cayman Johnson on offense. Johnson finished with 116 yards rushing and chewed up some valuable time in the fourth quarter after Norman North had pulled to within 10 points with about two minutes left in the game.
Sparks and Johnson teamed up on a 38-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring for Putnam City in the first quarter. On North's next possession, Wofford picked off a Kolar pass that set up the Panthers' next touchdown, a 35-yard scoring pass from Sparks to Fuller. On North's next possession, Kolar fumbled while scrambling and Wofford returned the ball 48 yards for a touchdown to give Putnam City North a 21-0 lead.
North clawed back with second-half touchdowns from Z'Quan Hogan, who rushed for 160 yards on 24 carries, and scoring passes from Kolar to Nick Basquine and Tyler Sipe covering 14 and 5 yards, respectively. But mistakes prevented a Norman North comeback.
Size-wise they were bigger than us,” said Putnam North coach Bob Wilson. “But our kids kept fighting.”
Wofford, a senior honor student who plays trumpet in the band, was in the right place at the right time most of the night for the Panthers, who have won four straight after losing their first four games to start the season,
“Our coaches did a great job of preparing us for their offense,” he said. “I knew we had the right mindset coming into the game.”