BROKEN ARROW V JENKS (copy)

Broken Arrow celebrates after defeating Jenks for the Class 6AI state championship on Friday. Jenks’ last-minute drive was halted by Myles Slusher’s interception.

MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World

Congratulations to the Broken Arrow Tigers, 2018 state champions in the top division of Oklahoma high school football.

The top-ranked, undefeated Tigers won an exciting, weather-delayed Class 6A Division I championship game against the Jenks Trojans Friday night at the University of Tulsa’s H.A. Chapman Stadium.

It is Broken Arrow’s first state football championship, which, no doubt, makes it all the sweeter to the school’s students, parents, faculty, alumni and patrons.

Tulsa-area teams — Jenks, Union, Owasso and Broken Arrow — have won the top division football championship every year since 1995, 23 years of dominance on this end of the turnpike.

That’s a remarkable testament to the hard work, team effort and school spirit of a lot of local young men, their families, coaches and fans.

Most important, the schools have thrived in sports at the same time they have thrived in academics. Broken Arrow, for example, offers Advanced Placement courses in 29 different subject areas. The school’s band, The Pride of Broken Arrow, has won the Oklahoma Bandmasters Association state championship 17 straight years. Last year, the high school had seven National Merit Scholars. This year, it had three. 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Donna Gradel’s Broken Arrow High School class worked with city engineers to build and launch an 80-foot by 30-foot floating wetland, creating an outdoor classroom in a detention pond across the street from the high school. Broken Arrow is achieving excellence on and off the football field.

We also congratulate the players, coaches and supporters of Bixby High School, which won the 6AII championship Friday in a 34-13 contest against Stillwater.

Local kids will vie for more gridiron glory this week when the Sperry Pirates take on the Beggs Demons in the 2A championship game and Regent Prep takes on Shattuck in the Class B finals in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma high school football is a great tradition. It teaches the value of hard work, goal-setting and teamwork. It unifies communities and, in some cases, provides an essential gateway to higher education. The proud players who walk away with the title of champions will have a lifetime of memories of what they achieved, and their schools will honor their achievements even longer.