NORMAN — Norman North players readily admitted that Friday night's 24-16 win over Broken Arrow in the Class 6A football quarterfinals was a monumental victory.
But each admission was followed by the same general thought.
“On to the next one,” defensive back D.J. Hicks said.
“Time to prepare for Owasso, get ready to beat them and keep it rolling,” said linebacker Jaxon Uhles.
Norman North players frantically celebrated their historic victory on Harve Collins Field Friday night, putting the Timberwolves in the state semifinals for the first time ever. But minds were clearly turning toward next week's semifinal matchup with Owasso shortly after the final horn.
“I can speak for all the seniors, and we don't want it to end,” linebacker Jordan Evans said. “We want to reach the most potential that our team can reach. A lot of us are pretty emotional right now, because we've accomplished things that no one thought we were gonna accomplish.
“It's a very special moment right now. We're just gonna try to live in it and keep going.”
A Week 3 loss to Westmoore is the only blemish on Norman North's record, quite a turnaround from a team that was 2-8 in 2010.
“I've got to give credit to these players,” second-year coach Wade Standley said. “We've got an incredible group of seniors. All these guys, they made plays all night, offensively, defensively, and our special teams were great again.”
Evans landed the first big blow for Norman North, returning a punt 90 yards for a first-quarter touchdown.
“That was huge,” second-year coach Wade Standley said. “Anytime you get a kickoff or punt return, it's such a swing in momentum. It put us on the board first. We were playing great defense. It was a huge point in the game.”
Evans, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior, also anchored Norman North's defensive attack on Broken Arrow quarterback Coleman Key, who was intercepted once by Hicks and was under constant pressure.
“That dude's big,” Evans said of Key, who threw for 227 yards on 22 of 35 passing. “We saw on film that when he got rushed, he kind of got rattled a little bit. We knew if we got there, it would disrupt the whole offense.”
The Timberwolves struggled to run the ball, finishing with 16 yards, but quarterback Peyton Gavras threw for 268 on 22 of 38 passing, including a 33-yard touchdown to Corbin Cleveland. Channing Meyer had nine catches for 91 yards.
Norman North (11-1) will be the west's only representative in the Class 6A semifinals, with Tulsa Union and Jenks set to meet on the other side of the bracket. The games will be played at neutral sites to be determined this weekend by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.
And the Timberwolves aren't ready to see their run end yet.
“This win means a lot, because no Norman North team has done this,” Evans said. “And we're on a mission. That's what it means.”