Union-Jenks, BA-Owasso rivalries have new twists to kick off high school football season
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
8/29/12 at 3:34 AM
Two of the state's top high school football regular-season matchups annually are the MidFirst Backyard Bowl between Union and Jenks as well as Broken Arrow facing Owasso.
This year, there is a new twist to each of those marquee events that are scheduled Friday.
The Backyard Bowl is being played in the season's opening week instead of in Week 2. And, the Broken Arrow-Owasso matchup has a prize for the winner, the Bailey Cup, and a name for the game: "Crosstown Showdown."
Participants in both games talked about the changes during separate press conferences on Tuesday. Both were held at the game sites, the Backyard Bowl at Chapman Stadium and the Crosstown Showdown at Owasso Stadium.
"It will be a big difference playing Union instead of Bixby in the first game," Jenks tailback Trev'Vonne Barr'e said, referring to the Trojans' traditional season-opening opponent, which has not defeated Jenks since 1977. "It's more exciting."
Jenks wideout Jordan Smallwood added, "Ever since we lost to Union in the semifinals, we've been waiting to play them. I'm very excited to be playing them in Week One instead of having to wait until Week Two."
Union players also support the change as they launch their bid to win a fifth consecutive Class 6A state title.
"I kind of like it," Union quarterback Hunter Atyia said. "You add the excitement of the first game to the excitement of the Backyard Bowl. It's going to be different, but it's going to be awesome."
Union linebacker Cameron Cotton added, "It's a great test to start off with Jenks, I wouldn't have it any other way to start my senior year."
A Backyard Bowl in the season opener will present different challenges for the coaches.
Union coach Kirk Fridrich added, "Week One presents its own problems - it's the first time you'll go live with your special teams. When you add to it the quality of the opponent, every mistake you make is going to be magnified."
Both teams also will be using this game as preparation for facing Texas powerhouses next week as Jenks will play DeSoto and Union meets Euless Trinity.
"It will be a great test with just a few practices under our belt," Jenks coach Allan Trimble said. "We'll find out a lot about ourselves."
In another first, the Tulsa Area United Way will announce its annual goal and open its campaign during the game.
Tickets for the Backyard Bowl are $10 (reserved), $7 (adults) and $5 (students). Children kindergarten age and younger are admitted free. Tickets are available at MidFirst Bank locations, as well as the Union and Jenks ticket offices. Kickoff is 7:05 p.m. at Chapman Stadium.
For two years, Broken Arrow and Owasso have explored ways to build their annual meeting to a higher stature just as Union and Jenks did when their regular season showdown became the MidFirst Backyard Bowl in 2004.
"We wanted to up the ante in our rivalry a little bit," Owasso athletic director Danny Hightower said. "Keith Mason (Bailey Medical Center CEO) approached me and said, 'I want the game to mean more than it had in the past.' "
As a result, the Bailey Cup has been donated as a traveling trophy that goes to the winner for a year.
"We wanted to make it a little more special," Mason said. "We wanted to give them something they could put their hands on after the game."
Bailey Medical Center held a fan contest that determined that "Crosstown Showdown" would be the game's name. A most valuable player trophy will be awarded.
"This adds a little bit to the game," Owasso coach Bill Patterson said. "It's always a big one."
Just as Union and Owasso did last year, Broken Arrow faced Owasso in the 6A semifinals, with Broken Arrow winning 30-17.
"We always try to schedule the best opponents," Broken Arrow coach Steve Spavital said. "They are a tremendous team."
Tickets are $7 (adults) and $5 students, and are available at both schools. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Jenks vs. Union
7 p.m. Friday
Chapman Stadium, Tulsa
Radio: KTBZ am1430 (Jenks); KYAL fm97.1 (Union)
Bailey Cup: Broken Arrow at Owasso
7:30 p.m. Friday
Radio: KXBL fm99.5 (Broken Arrow); KYFM fm100.1 (Owasso)
Original Print Headline: Pair of rivalries kick off the season
Barry Lewis 918-581-8393
Union head coach Kirk Fridrich (left) and quarterback Hunter Atyia pose with with Jenks quarterback Kyle Alexander, coach Allan Trimble and the Backyard Bowl trophy on Tuesday. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World
Broken Arrow coach Steve Spavital and Owasso coach Bill Patterson hold up the Bailey Cup during a news conference about the upcoming Crosstown Showdown. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World