Barry Lewis: Jenks takes strong defense into championship game
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Thursday, November 29, 2012
11/29/12 at 5:05 AM
ALTHOUGH JENKS' high-powered offense often gets much of the spotlight, the Trojans' defense has been playing at a championship-caliber level going into Friday night's Class 6A state football title game against Norman North at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.
The Trojans' starting defense has not allowed a touchdown over the past six games. Jenks has given up three TDs in three playoff games - with all the TDs coming long after the outcome had been decided.
"We start seven underclassmen, and we've improved a great deal on defense," Jenks coach Allan Trimble said. "But this week will be our biggest challenge in a while. Norman North has a great system and they really do a good job of moving the ball around."
Norman North's offense was in high gear last week in a 49-42 victory over Owasso as quarterback Peyton Gavras passed for 401 yards.
"They have four receivers with over 30 catches," Jenks senior cornerback Braden Calip said. "You have to be prepared for every one of their receivers, and that is challenging. They have a different type of offense that can hurt you and they spread people out."
Jenks senior linebacker Kent Clark added, "Their Wildcat (formation) looks pretty impressive and they have some great athletes."
Clark leads Jenks' defense with 78 tackles, followed by junior linebacker Trent Taber, who has 75. Taber compares preparing for Norman North's passing game to when the Trojans played Edmond Santa Fe in last year's playoffs.
For Clark and Calip, it's their last chance to win a football state title, which would be Jenks' first since 2007. They both played in the 50-47 loss to Union in the 2010 6A state title game as the Trojans let a lead slip away in the final minute.
"There were just a few plays we missed in that last championship game and we didn't get it," Clark said. "We've got to make sure we get all the plays this week. We're ready to take it back."
That title game experience could be helpful for the Trojans, who are facing a team making its first appearance in the championship game.
"You know all about the environment and all about how the game should be played," Calip said.
Familiar foe for Jenks: Although Jenks has never played Norman North, the Timberwolves' coaching staff has some familiarity with the Trojans.
Norman North head coach Wade Standley is the former defensive coordinator at Union. His last game with Union was a 34-20 victory over Jenks in the 2008 state title game at Boone Pickens Stadium. Standley coached nine years at Union and has faced Jenks many times.
"I can't get away from Jenks," Standley said with a chuckle on Tuesday.
He has two assistants, offensive coordinator Brent Barnes and Lance Tignor, who also coached at Union. And recent former Union players Mitch Williams and Bobby Lind also are Norman North assistants.
"You can tell a little bit of the Union personality in some things they do," Trimble said. "The high expectations and how well they've done, that's carried over, too."
Standley left Union to become head coach at Liberal (Kan.), where he spent two years. This is his second season at Norman North, where he inherited a team that went 3-7 in 2010.
"It has been a quick ride," Standley said. "All our young men were very committed and have worked hard since my first day here."
Standley's advice to his players about being in a title game is simple.
"Just keep it all about playing football," Standley said.
5A may be defensive duel: It would be surprising if the 5A title game between East Central and Midwest City Carl Albert on Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium had a lot of offensive fireworks.
In the past seven years, the most points a winning team has scored was by Booker T. Washington in a 32-3 win over East Central in 2010. The average combined points scored in the past seven 5A title games is 29.5. Contrast that to 6A, where championship games have produced nearly twice as many points, averaging 59.3.
Vian set for Davis: Top-ranked Vian is in the 2A semifinals for the first time since 2006 as it prepares to face No. 2 Davis on Friday night at Midwest City.
Although Vian had its lowest-scoring output of the season last week, the Wolverines' 43-13 win over Hennessey may have been their best offensive performance.
"There's a reason why Hennessey won back-to-back state championships," Vian coach Brandon Tyler said. "They've got a very good defense, but our five offensive linemen really controlled the line of scrimmage."
Tyler expects another tough battle on Friday.
"What impresses me is how physical Davis is coming off the ball," Tyler said. "They are very effective with their wishbone offense."
College signings: Vinita outfielder Logan Downing signed to play baseball with Arkansas-Fort Smith. He is a cousin of 2010 World state basketball player of the year Cameron Downing of Memorial ... Broken Arrow's Tate Williamson, a World All-Metro first team selection last spring, signed with Northeastern State ... NSU signed seven area softball players - Union's Brianna Trujillo, Oologah's Randye Sharp, Beggs' Ryan Martin, Henryetta's Lauren Flanery, Muskogee's Paige Gann and Jessi Venable and Chelsea's Madison Boyd.
Where are they now?: Princeton wideout Roman Wilson, who helped Lincoln Christian win the 2A football title in 2009, was named to the All-Ivy League second team ... Northern Iowa quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen, who was Jenks' starting quarterback in three state title games, is one of 20 finalists for the Jerry Rice Award given to the nation's top freshman at the FCS level. Kollmorgen led the Missouri Valley Conference in TD passes and passing efficiency.
Original Print Headline: Defense an area of strength for Jenks