– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
#1 BROKEN ARROW (12-0) VS #2 JENKS (11-1)
The Broken Arrow Tigers look for their first gold ball in school history and finish off the perfect season. Standing in front of that goal on the other sideline, are the perennial power Jenks Trojans. Both teams were two of the absolute best all season and will face each other in a rematch of the very first district game of the year.
Broken Arrow is in the championship game after going undefeated in one of the more dominant seasons in recent memory. They kicked things off by blowing away rival Union in the season opener. They followed that up by shutting out Mansfield, Texas. The Tigers would then hit the road and dominate defending champion Owasso. After a week off, the Tigers would open district play by beating Jenks by 15 points, their biggest win over Jenks since 2003. In a five week stretch, they had beaten Jenks, Owasso and Union by an average margin of 21 points. At that point, the Tigers had everyone’s attention and had easily become the new team to beat in 6A-D1. Broken Arrow wouldn’t be tested again until the semifinals. After their 4-0 start, they beat the next six opponents by a combined score of 355-27. During that stretch, they failed to score 50 points only once. They opened the playoffs with a 49-0 drubbing of Moore in the quarterfinals. Then came the rematch with an Owasso team they had beaten by 27 points in week two. In the first meeting, Broken Arrow led 34-7 at halftime. The rematch was scoreless going into the fourth quarter. The Tigers would survive a scare from the Rams and punch their ticket to the title game with a 10-7 win.
Jenks is back into the state championship game for the first time since 2015. That might not seem like much of a drought but for a program like Jenks, it is. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 1990-1992 to find a three-year stretch where Jenks didn’t make at least one state championship appearance. Let that stat soak in for a minute. After a slow start to the season last year, the Trojans were hungry to leave no doubt as they opened the 2018 campaign. It began in Bixby as they knocked off a Spartan team that defeated them last year with a 28-14 win. The following week, they would beat Mansfield Legacy, TX in impressive fashion with a runaway 35-14 victory. After being tied at 14 after one quarter, the Trojans would shut out Legacy the rest of the way and would use 21 points in the third quarter to get the win. The following week was the annual Backyard Bowl with rival Union. The Trojans would dominate from start to finish in a 27-10 win. The same night that Broken Arrow dominated the defending champion Rams. After the bye week, Jenks would fall short on the road against Broken Arrow but they haven’t lost since. They would roll the rest of their opponents and then beat PC North by 30 in the quarterfinals. That set up another classic Jenks-Union finish. After Union scored with 20 seconds left, Ian Corwin would find Julian Clarke for a 78-yard prayer that was answered. That set up Noah Hernandez’s game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock.
You have the two top teams in the state and plenty of star power will be on display when these two go at it for the gold ball. We’re going to go ahead and say it. Regardless of what happens in the game on Friday night at TU. This is the absolute best team Broken Arrow has ever had. From top to bottom, the Tigers have talent everywhere and you can’t find many, if any, weaknesses on either side of the ball. The offense has been a well oiled machine with a two-quarterback system that has worked all year. The workhorse on the offense is running back Noah Cortes, who has rewritten the record books for running backs at Broken Arrow. It certainly helps that he runs behind the best offensive line in the state, anchored by an All American in Andrew Raym. Then you look at the defensive side of the ball and see future D1 players everywhere. It starts up front with disruptive defensive tackle Demeco Roland. Right behind him are two more future D1 players with linebackers Gavin Potter and Zach Marcheselli. Then the secondary has lockdown talent as well with senior corner Tricky Stokes and an elite junior prospect with Myles Slusher. This Broken Arrow team is stacked and will go down in history as one of the best.
And on the other sideline, it’s normally Jenks that overpowers opponents with stars on both sides of the ball. However, this year’s Jenks team won’t blow you away with star power and talent all over the place. However, what they lack in that department, they more than make up for with experience. A good majority of the players on this year’s team have gone through plenty of growing pains over the last few seasons. You can start by looking at the backfield. Seniors Ian Corwin and Noah Hernandez have been making an impact on the Trojans for years now. Corwin has become one of the most successful passers in Jenks history. He only needs one more win to solidify himself as one of the all time greats. Hernandez has been outstanding for years for the Trojans. He became a name we’ll remember forever with his game-winning run against Union in the semifinals. However, Hernandez isn’t alone in the backfield. Newcomer Dreyson Watters has given a new spark to this Jenks offense. The Trojans have gotten creative with Watters, using him as a wide receiver as well. The Trojans also benefit from having one of the top senior offensive lineman prospects in the state with Arkansas commit Brady Latham.
Jenks is 37-23 all time against Broken Arrow. You won’t find very many programs that having a winning record against the Trojans. However, this series between district rivals has been getting closer and closer during his decade. In their last four meetings, each team holds a 2-2 record. Broken Arrow ran away with the regular season meeting this year with a 28-13 win. These teams have played every year since 1974. However, despite that. this will only be the fifth time they’ve squared off in the playoffs. The Trojans are a perfect 4-0 against Broken Arrow in playoff meetings, including a 35-14 win in the 2015 state title game.
Broken Arrow: Broken Arrow is headed to the state championship game for the fourth time in school history and for the second time in the last four years. All four state championship appearances have come since the turn of the century. However, the Tigers are 0-3 all time in championship games with two losses to Union and a loss to Jenks in the 2015 title game. Broken Arrow is the largest school in the state but have yet to win a state championship. This coaching staff and these players are tired of having to answer the question year after year of when the Tigers will finally bring home a gold ball to the state’s largest school.
Jenks: For the 25th time in school history, the Jenks Trojans will be playing for a state championship. The only other school with as many championship appearances as the Trojans is Clinton. Jenks is also tied with Clinton for championship wins with 16. The only school with more gold balls is Ada with 19. The Trojans are also appearing in their first state title game since beating Broken Arrow in 2015. That title wrapped up four consecutive gold balls from 2012-2015. This will be Keith Riggs’ first state championship as head coach of the Trojans. Legendary coach Allan Trimble won 13 gold balls. The most by any coach in state history.
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