Preseason favorite? Jenks isn't No. 1
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Monday, August 13, 2012
8/13/12 at 4:01 PM
Correction: A Monday Tulsa World sports photo caption spelled Trent Taber's last name wrong. This story has been corrected.
JENKS - For the first time in two decades, Jenks is not favored during the preseason to win its district.
Coaches from five of the other six teams in 6A-2 have tabbed Broken Arrow as the district favorite with Jenks projected for second place by those five coaches. Jenks coach Allan Trimble describes Broken Arrow as "the team to beat" and "frontrunner" in the district race.
Jenks receiver Jordan Smallwood and his teammates are focusing on more than just reclaiming the district title they lost to Broken Arrow last year.
"We love the challenge," said Smallwood, who is committed to the University of Oklahoma. "It just makes us work harder and stronger.
"Everyone talks about the drought. We want to be the team that ends it."
Smallwood is referring to Jenks going four years without a state championship after winning nine in 12 years from 1996-2007 under Trimble.
Jenks appears to have a stronger team than it did last year as its top two offensive performers from 2011 return, Smallwood and tailback Trey'Vonne Barr'e. Smallwood caught 50 passes and scored 10 touchdowns last year. Barr'e, a Tulsa World all-metro and second-team all-state selection last year, rushed for 1,927 yards and scored 24 TDs.
"That's my goal - to rush for more yards this year and win a state championship," Barr'e said. "Our running game is going to open up the passing game."
Trimble is excited about the potential of the offense that could approach the 54.7 points it averaged in 2010 before falling to 41.4 last year.
"Trey'Vonne has had the best summer he's ever had," Trimble said. "We're excited about what we can do with Jordan. With his size and one-on-one ability, that will allow us to have some matchups that are going to make us tough to stop."
The Trojans also return Trey Michalczewski at wideout after he had 31 catches for 619 yards and eight TDs last season. Other impact receivers include Logan Prince, Steven Parker and Dylan Harding. Jenks also could use Barr'e as a slot receiver as the Trojans have other talented running backs including Braden Calip, Brett Tye and Darwin Thompson.
Jenks usually has a strong offensive line and this year is no exception, led by returning starters Brandon Waggoner and Stewart White. They will protect quarterback Kyle Alexander, whose season ended after only two games last year due to a knee injury.
"Kyle has been real solid this summer," Trimble said. "He's stronger and throws the ball harder."
The Trojans' defense returns its leading tackler from last year, junior linebacker Trent Taber.
"We've had a fantastic summer," said Taber, who also will be used at fullback. "We've all worked really hard."
Jenks' defense will be strengthened by the return of senior linebacker Kent Clark, who was injured for most of last season before returning for the playoffs. The linebacking corps also features juniors Luke Thompson and Danny Hoyt, who each saw signifiant playing time in 2011.
A speedy secondary includes Calip, Parker, Harding and Austin Casillas. Jenks' defensive line loses standouts Orion Jones and Ashton Henderson, but returnee Jacob Oakley is a major college prospect, and Trimble has been impressed this summer by 280-pound junior Marquise Overton.
"We call him 'Q,' '' Trimble said. "He had a tremendous team camp."
Although Jenks has gone four years without a state title, it has been close to the gold ball during that span with three straight losses in the title game before falling to four-time defending champion Union in the semifinals last year. The last two playoff losses to Union have been by a combined four points.
"Our team is more together," Smallwood said. "We have a new (motto) - `Together Everyone Achieves More' - the first letters spell out TEAM."
Last year's 6A-3 title was decided when Broken Arrow defeated Jenks 31-21 in week No. 9. This year the teams will meet earlier, on Oct. 5 in week No. 6, again at Broken Arrow. This year's district lineup includes four teams from last year's 6A-3 - Broken Arrow, Jenks, Muskogee and Sapulpa; two holdovers from 6A-2 - Westmoore and Putnam City; plus Bixby from 6A-4 and Edison moving up from 5A.
Barry Lewis 918-581-8393
Jenks football players (clockwise from bottom) Jordan Smallwood, Trent Taber, Trey'Vonne Barr'e, and Brandon Waggoner, pose on the field at the high school. The Trojans are not preseason district favorites for the first time in two decades. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World