By Shawn Hein
The top two ranked teams in Class 6AI will take the field Friday night.
This game has its own bowl designation.
And the victor will be recognized as the frontrunner for the gold ball going into district play.
No, this game will not take place in south Tulsa. Instead No. 2 Owasso (2-0) will travel to top-ranked Broken Arrow (2-0) in the inaugural Folds of Honor Patriot Bowl driven by Jim Glover Auto Family.
Kickoff at Broken Arrow’s Memorial Stadium between the last two state champions is set for 7 p.m.
Both squads enter with momentum on their respective sides.
Owasso delivered an impressive 51-19 romp over Fayetteville (Arkansas) in its home opener last week (see recap on page 15). The Ram defense intercepted three passes, two of which were returned for touchdowns, and rolled past the No. 2-ranked team in Arkansas’ Class 7A.
Broken Arrow blanked Union 14-0 for its first road win against the Redskins in 33 years. The Tigers have won their last 15 games.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of hype around the game with the rankings,” said Rams senior quarterback Cole Dugger. “…I’m sure it’ll be a great atmosphere.”
In his first season as Owasso’s signal caller, Dugger has thrown for 596 yards and six touchdowns through the first two games. The Rams have struck an offensive balance around Dugger. OHS has rushed for at least 200 yards in victories over Fayetteville and Bentonville West.
Senior running back Isaiah Jacobs has ran for 322 yards and averaged more than 8 yards per rush.
“I think you’ve got to be able to run the ball. You’ve got to be balanced,” Owasso coach Bill Blankenship said.
The Owasso defense comes off of one of its most impressive performances. OHS limited Fayetteville’s prolific offense to 315 yards, nearly 300 fewer yards than it allowed in the 2018 meeting with the Purple Dogs.
Owasso has forced five turnovers in the first two weeks and has a plus-4 turnover margin. Blankenship attributed that number to the havoc being caused by players like defensive end Haydon Grant and linebackers Emaud Triplett and Brendan Dye, combined with a veteran secondary.
Junior safety Gage Laney had two of those Ram interceptions against Fayetteville, one of which he returned for a 70-yard score. Laney shared Blankenship’s perspective when he shared the key to success against a Broken Arrow offense that has ran the ball on 82 percent of its snaps over the first two weeks.
“The key will be pressure from our d-line,” Laney said. “In the back end, we just have to read our keys and stay locked on our man.”