Norman North looked like little more than a pretty good 6A football team after a tough loss to Westmoore in Week 3 of the regular season — but “pretty good” doesn't get you to the state finals at this level.
Over the last two months, the Timberwolves have constantly gained momentum, knocking off two Tulsa-area powers in the last two weeks to get to the finals.
Friday's title game is the tangible result of a mindset Standley began to instill the day he arrived in the spring of 2011.
“The first day he was here ... I came over after and introduced myself,” senior Jaxon Uhles said. “He told me how it was going to be and I was ready to go right then. All the guys bought in from the first day he was here and ever since then, our motto has been ‘All In.'
“We believe that and we do everything all in, not just football but in the classroom. He's brought that attitude to us, not just in football but in life.”
Having coached under Bill Blankenship at Tulsa Union, Standley knows what a winning program looks like, and he'll try to take another giant step with the Timberwolves on Friday in a process that's been nearly two years in the making.
“It started from Day 1,” Standley said. “We had a special group of young men that were very focused, very mature and very determined. From Day 1, they focused on getting better that first year and it's continued to this point.”