– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
The 2017 football season is in the books and it was a great one. It’s time to start recognizing some of the great individual performances we saw throughout the season. It’s time for Awards Week here on OKPreps. Throughout the week, we’ll have different posts recognizing the best of the best. For the complete schedule and a look at previous posts, check it out at the bottom of this post. We continue things today with the announcement of the 2017 OKPreps Coach Of The Year. Earlier today, we announced the OKPreps Player Of The Year.
2017 OKPreps Coach Of The Year
Owasso High School
Owasso head coach Bill Blankenship added another chapter to his storied career this season. In his first year in charge, he led Owasso to their first ever state championship. Not only did Blankenship deliver a title to a town in Owasso that was hungry for a gold ball, he ended one of the more historic streaks ever. Jenks and Union combined to win 21 consecutive state championships in the state’s largest class. No other state featured a streak of the magnitude that Oklahoma witnessed for over two decades.
When Blankenship was hired by the Rams back in January, the goal was simple. End the streak. The irony is that it was a streak that Blankenship was a part of. Blankenship won three state championships with Union and led the Redskins to several other state championship games in his time. Blankenship helped build the Union dynasty that is rolling now. He suddenly resigned in 2005 after winning a second straight title. However, the foundation was built for a former Blankenship assistant to take it to new heights with current head coach Kirk Fridrich.
Blankenship would go head to head with Fridrich twice this season. The first encounter was one of the best games of the season. Blankenship returned to Union Tuttle Stadium but was on the opposite sideline. The Rams fell to Union in a double overtime instant classic. However, it was clear that these two teams were far from done with one another. Both Owasso and Union would roll the rest of the regular season and they were equally dominant in their first two playoff games. That set up the rematch for the state championship. Owasso had the advantage from start to finish in a nearly flawless game, winning 21-14.
On the same Skelly Field that Blankenship helped build the Union dynasty with memorable Jenks-Union games and state championship appearances, on the same field that Blankenship led the Tulsa Golden Hurricane to many wins, including a conference championship, he added that next chapter with the Owasso Rams.
December 18: Class By Class Player Of The Year
December 19: Breakout Stars
December 21: Most Improved Player
December 22: OKPreps All State 1st Team
December 23: Complete All State Team
Today: OKPreps Player Of The Year & Coach Of The Year
December 25: OKPreps Fan’s Favorite & Career Achievement Award