Barry Lewis: Jenks-Union semifinal set for Broken Arrow
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Sunday, November 18, 2012
11/18/12 at 6:12 AM
THANKSGIVING weekend won't require as much traveling this year as it did in 2011 for those involved with the Union, Jenks and Owasso football teams in semifinal games.
On Friday night, Broken Arrow's Memorial Stadium will be the site for the next installment in the Union-Jenks series.
From a travel standpoint that is a big improvement from last November when Stillwater High School was the closest suitable site that the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association could find for the Class 6A semifinal between Union and Jenks.
"We really don't have a lot of input," Union coach Kirk Fridrich said. "The OSSAA makes the assignments and it's their game. I'm sure at this time of year, it's always difficult to find places to play, and it's obviously a lot nicer than having to go to Stillwater, like we did last year."
Owasso also received a much more convenient assignment as its semifinal against Norman North will be at Union-Tuttle Stadium. Last year, Owasso's semifinal loss to Broken Arrow was at Muskogee's Indian Bowl.
On Saturday, the OSSAA announced dates, times and sites for all of the weekend's playoff games. All games will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Among the semifinal scheduling highlights - In 5A, East Central will play McAlester at the Indian Bowl; in 4A, Wagoner will face Anadarko at Langston University; and in Class B, Rejoice Christian will travel to face Laverne at Enid.
The task of finding suitable neutral semifinal sites is always challenging for the OSSAA.
"It's a juggling act," OSSAA associate director David Jackson said after the assignments were made on Saturday.
The OSSAA would have liked to place the Union-Jenks game at the University of Tulsa's H.A. Chapman Stadium - site of the teams' season opener. But that stadium was unavailable because TU is hosting volleyball matches at the adjacent Reynolds Center on Friday.
That left Broken Arrow as the only suitable neutral site in the Tulsa area for the crowd of 10,000-plus that is expected to attend the game.
"We're very appreciative that Broken Arrow and Union stepped up and let us use their nice facilities," Jackson said.
Games could be played on either Friday or Saturday, but the OSSAA in recent years has preferred to play as many as possible on Friday and this year it's a clean sweep.
"Schools like to stay in that routine of playing on Friday," Jackson said. "And this year it was a bonus for us to play them all on Friday because of Bedlam (Oklahoma-Oklahoma State) on Saturday."
A new site into the playoff venue mix is Langston's recently renovated W.E. Anderson Stadium.
"They have a brand new administration and athletic director (Mike Garrett) who are very anxious to get people onto their campus," Jackson said. "We're very excited that they are going to let us use their stadium."
Original Print Headline: Jenks-Union game set for BA
World sports writer Mike Brown contributed to this column