6A Semifinals: Owasso vs. Norman North
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Friday, November 23, 2012
11/23/12 at 4:48 AM
Five questions going into the Class 6A semifinal game between Owasso and Norman North:
1. Will the third time be the charm for Owasso to get past the semifinals?
Owasso, looking for its first title game apparance since 1974, is in the semifinals for the third consecutive year. The Rams lost to Jenks 75-28 in 2010 and to Broken Arrow 30-17 last year.
However, Owasso is in a different place going into this game than in the previous two years. For the first time in this run, the Rams are the favored, more experienced team.
"It's been a growing process," Owasso coach Bill Patterson said. "We have a little different mindset this year. Two years ago, we were just thrilled to be here. Last year, was a hard-fought game with Broken Arrow and we felt like we were in the game. Our seniors, having been here three years, have higher expectations this year."
2. Will Norman North have big-game jitters?
This is the biggest game in the Timberwolves' history that dates back to 1997. History shows it is tough for a 6A team making its first semifinal appearance or the first in a long time to win against a more experienced team, especially when it is far from home.
3. Can Norman North stop Owasso quarterback Jaylen Lowe?
Norman North, with a strong pass rush, only allowed Broken Arrow's offense to produce 10 points last week. The Timberwolves have allowed only 42 points in the last five games. Owasso has scored at least 35 points in each game of its nine-game winning streak. The Rams have a stronger offensive line than Broken Arrow. Lowe, who has passed for 2,011 yards and 25 TDs, is a mobile quarterback who has been in many pressure situations.
4. Can Owasso stop Norman North quarterback Peyton Gavras?
Gavras has passed for 2,828 yards and 32 TDs. Unlike Owasso, which has tailback Scottie Prealow (1,592 rushing yards, 18 TDs), Norman North does not have a go-to running back and relies primarily on its passing game. Gavras had a pass picked off for a TD last week. Owasso has a strong secondary that includes Jordan Mitchell and Tyler Lindsey, who have combined for seven interceptions. Norman North uses a Wildcat package that can pose problems for defenses. Broken Arrow's defense stopped Norman North's running game last week and Gavras only produced 17 points.
5. Does Owasso have a home-field advantage?
It would seem to be as much of a home-field advantage as you can have without playing on your home campus. Owasso, which will have 100 fewer miles to travel for the game than Norman North, should be very comfortable at Union-Tuttle Stadium, where it snapped Union's 94-game district winning streak last year and also won 38-35 in Week 4 this year. The Rams also play there annually in the preseason. "And our players are excited to play there again as the `visiting' team," Patterson said. Norman North, however, also played in this year's Union Gridiron Classic and head coach Wade Standley is a former Union assistant.
JOEY JOHNSON/For the Tulsa World