One of the area’s fastest-growing high school football rivalries might be on the verge of becoming the most important.
Broken Arrow and Owasso have accounted for the past two Class 6AI football titles, and the teams may provide a preview of the 2019 championship game when they face off Friday at Broken Arrow’s Memorial Stadium.
The 39th meeting between the Tigers and the Rams will also be the first Folds of Honor Patriot Bowl driven by Jim Glover Auto Family.
It’s one of three big rivalry games highlighting another busy football Friday night. Jenks and Union square off in the 16th MidFirst Bank Backyard Bowl at Union-Tuttle Stadium, and Memorial and Edison play in the 13th MidTown Classic at LaFortune Stadium.
Jenks-Union has been the ranking rivalry in excitement and glamour for some time, and rightly so. The schools combined to win every large-school state title in a 21-year span, with Jenks winning 13 gold balls and Union winning eight in that time.
But the BA-Owasso matchup now shares the spotlight. When the Rams won the 2017 championship, they broke the Jenks-Union stranglehold. Last year, BA prevailed over Owasso 10-7 in the semifinals and went on to its first state title in football.
In August, the new agreement was announced between the schools and Jim Glover Auto Family to celebrate the service and sacrifice of American heroes and to provide scholarships for families of service members who were killed or wounded.
Since 2013, Jim Glover Auto Family has donated $450,000 to Folds of Honor.
No. 2 Owasso (2-0) at No. 1 Broken Arrow (2-0)
Title: Folds of Honor Patriot Bowl driven by Jim Glover Auto Family (inaugural)
Overall series: BA leads 27-11.
Radio: KYFM-100.1 (Owasso), KYAL-97.1 (Broken Arrow)
What’s the deal: The biggest game since the last one. Owasso took the Tigers to the wire in the 6AI semifinals last November, but Broken Arrow prevailed 10-7 and went on to win its first state title in football two weeks later. Owasso won the 2017 state title and this is very likely a preview of the next championship game in December. It’s a classic matchup between the Rams’ high-flying offense, averaging 49 points per game, and a suffocating Broken Arrow defense. The Tigers won at Union 14-0 last week, giving the Redskins their first shutout loss in 28 years, and have allowed an average of 143.5 yards in two games.
Owasso key players: QB Cole Dugger has passed for 596 yards and six touchdowns. Mario Kirby and Payton Lusk have two TD receptions each. Kirby averages 24.8 yards per catch and he, Lusk and Isaiah Jacobs each have eight receptions. Jacobs, also a three-star prospect at running back, has rushed for 322 yards and two TDs. He is averaging 8.3 yards per carry. Emaud Triplett has a team-leading 21 total tackles.
Broken Arrow key players: QB Jake Raines has passed for 340 yards and four TDs. He went 9-for-10 for 162 yards and four TDs in the 42-13 win against Mansfield, Texas, and is 13-for-17 overall for 76.5 percent. Isaiah Keller averages 29 yards per catch, Tory Dillard averages 21.6 yards per catch and both have two TD receptions. Campbell Yeager has a team-leading 13.5 tackles and Myles Slusher, Mason Garrett, Bryce Mattioda and Adonis Ballard have interceptions.
No. 4 Jenks (1-1) at No. 3 Union (0-2)
Title: MidFirst Bank Backyard Bowl (16th)
Overall series: Jenks leads 40-22-2
Radio: The Franchise-107.9 (Jenks), KRMG-740 (Union)
What’s the deal: Both teams are trying to regroup, strange for schools that have accounted for 25 state titles (16 by Jenks, nine by Union). This is the first time since 1980 that both teams come into the game having lost the week before. Jenks is trying to bounce back from the 57-7 shelling by Bixby last week and Union is still without a win in 2019. The Redskins lost 47-44 on a last-second field goal at Mansfield (Texas) Lake Ridge and 14-0 to Broken Arrow last week. Union coach Kirk Fridrich has a special appreciation for both teams’ senior classes because his son, Josh Fridrich, is a Redskins senior. “I bet I’ve watched from the sideline at every Jenks-Union football game since the third grade,” he quipped earlier this week.
Jenks key players: Stephen Kittleman has passed for 469 yards and one touchdown, but he threw five interceptions against Bixby. Justin Murphy leads the team in catches (12) and receiving yards (133). Kobey Rogers, Will Cox and Griffin Forbes have a rushing touchdown each and Grant Lohr averages 6.1 yards per carry. Kobe Tucker has a team-leading 8.5 tackles, including three for loss. Coleman Thurber and Justin Murphy have two sacks each.
Union key players: JD Geneva threw five TD passes in his first start at Lake Ridge but struggled against Broken Arrow last week. AJ Green has rushed for 214 yards and one TD and is averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Kyler Pearson has 10 pass receptions and two of Jayden Lipsey’s three receptions went for TDs. Stefaan Forbes averaged 38.5 yards on six punts against Broken Arrow and is averaging 37.9 for the season.
Edison (0-1) vs. Memorial (0-1)
Title: MidTown Classic (13th)
Overall series: Memorial leads 37-19
What’s the deal: The Tulsa Public Schools neighbors are three miles apart as the crow flies, share LaFortune Stadium as their home field and have played every year since Memorial’s second football season in 1963. Edison running back Sevion Morrison has 3,991 rushing yards and needs 18 to become the school’s career-leading rusher. Spencer Tillman, member of the University of Oklahoma’s 1985 national championship team and a current Fox Sports analyst, set the previous record of 4,009 in 1979-82.
Key players: Offensive lineman Whitney Azlin helps clear the way for Morrison to amass his rushing yardage. A three-year starter, Azlin had 28 pancake blocks last season. Memorial’s Sam Algea is a four-year starter as a deep snapper and a versatile producer on both sides of the ball.