Why Jenks-Union should go back to home-and-home permanently
Last Friday, the 2020 MidFirst Bank Backyard Bowl between Jenks and Union was played at Allan Trimble Stadium.
It was the first time since 1998 Jenks has hosted Union in a true home game for the Trojans. It was that year the rivalry grew to new heights, as the two schools met in the Class 6A State Championship Game for the first time to close the season.
Following 1998, it was decided to move the annual regular-season contest between the two superpowers to the University of Tulsa to help accommodate more fans and create a college-like atmosphere for the mega-game.
For the first few years, then Skelly Stadium, now Chapman Stadium, was the perfect place to host this annual event that drew tens of thousands of people from across the state.
Every time Jenks and Union met on a football field, it seemed to be instant classic television. Imagine Frazier and Ali meeting every September to trade haymakers in the ultimate heavyweight showdown.
As the years went on, the crowds grew smaller, but still much larger than a normal high school football game.
There have been several years for various reasons that Union decided to host the game at Tuttle Stadium, but for the most part, since 1998, the regular season match-up between Jenks and Union has been played at 11th and Harvard.
The 2020 version of the MidFirst Bank Backyard Bowl was played in Jenks because of the COVID-19 pandemic we are facing. Allan Trimble Stadium was at limited seating capacity and school officials decided it would be best to play the game in Jenks rather than TU.
Despite only 30% of the stadium being filled, the atmosphere was still top notch for a high school football game, and it was a neat sight to see Union back playing in Jenks.
I believe this rivalry needs to go back to a home-and-home setting and not play at the University of Tulsa going forward.
With Union remodeling Tuttle Stadium, that venue will be more than adequate enough to host this game every other year and with the additions and upgrades Allan Trimble Stadium has received throughout the years, there is no reason Jenks should not be able to host this game every other year.
Yes, in a normal year with no stadium capacity limitations, there will be very little, if any room and parking could be an issue, but isn’t that part of what makes games like this fun?
I remember as a little kid every Friday night in the fall going to watch the Jenks Trojans play football and my dad having to park what seemed like miles away on a curb in some neighborhood and then walking toward the stadium lights.
Sure, we acted like it bothered us, but in reality, those were memories that stick with you forever.
There is also something that high school stadiums give us that college stadiums don’t. The atmosphere for a high school football game on a Friday night at a high school football game is hard to beat.
I understand there have been some great atmospheres throughout the years at the University of Tulsa between these two schools, but I think it is time we move this game back to home-and-home.
It was cool to see Union back in Jenks last Friday. I would like to see it again when we can fill Allan Trimble Stadium to the max.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the Jenks Tribune.