Jenks Union

Fans packed Skelly Stadium in Tulsa on Dec. 3, 1999 for the 6A state high school football championship game between Jenks and Union high schools. Jenks would go on to win, 14-7. Tulsa World file

Congratulations to all the teams set to compete in Saturday’s state football championship games at Wantland Stadium on the University of Central Oklahoma campus in Edmond.

At the top of the heap are two teams from the Tulsa area: Jenks and Owasso high schools, who will meet in the 6A-I championship game at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Bixby High School will match up against Stillwater in the 6A-II game at 7 p.m. Friday, and other area teams are still in the hunt in other divisions. Congratulations to them all.

Playing championship-level football is not just a matter of individual athletic excellence. It requires teamwork, planning, motivation and support. The players rightly are the ones who carry off the trophy at the end of the game, but the victory also belongs to the coaches, parents, administrators, teachers, students, alumni and fans.

It’s a shame that the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association hasn’t taken all those groups into consideration in scheduling the Jenks-Owasso game.

Influenced by the recommendation of the Oklahoma Football Coaches Association, OSSAA has contracted to play all its championship games in Edmond. The unified, central location makes sense, except when it doesn’t.

And, in the case of the Jenks-Owasso game, it doesn’t make sense.

When two teams from metropolitan Tulsa make the championship game, it ought to be played in metropolitan Tulsa. That allows more people to go to the game, increases the excitement and decreases the danger inherent in excited teenagers traveling more than 100 miles across the state ... at night ... in December.

Safety and good sense dictate that the game be played in Tulsa. OSSAA has made exactly that call often in the past when Tulsa-area teams were the last two names in the championship bracket. For the safety of everyone involved and the good of the game, it should do it again.


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