Jenks prepared for ‘physical’ matchup with Broken Arrow
Class 6A-1 No. 2 Jenks will take on Class 6A-1 No. 3 Broken Arrow at 7:35 p.m. Friday at Allan Trimble Stadium in both teams’ first game in district play this season.
Both the Trojans and Tigers were set to open Class 6A-1 District 1 action last week, but due to COVID-19 situations, both games were canceled.
Broken Arrow’s matchup with Westmoore was called off during the week due to the COVID-19 numbers on Westmoore’s team, but Jenks didn’t find out its game with Enid was canceled until about 35 minutes prior to kick off last Friday.
The Trojans were on the field getting warmed up when the Garfield County Health Department called Enid Public Schools and instructed them to cancel the football game between the Trojans and Plainsmen.
Enid’s junior varsity squad played Guthrie earlier that week and a Guthrie player, who played in that game, tested positive for COVID-19 several days later, so any Plainsmen player, who participated in that junior varsity game could have been exposed.
Jenks head coach Keith Riggs said even though the health and safety of the players, coaches, staff, and fans are the No. 1 priority, it was still difficult having to tell his players they weren’t going to be able to play.
“The kids were pretty disappointed,” Riggs said. “Throughout a week of preparation, you slowly build up with your preparation and anticipation. The climax is really the start of the game. We were almost to that point and then find out you won’t be playing. It was tough to tell the kids. I know they were certainly excited for the opportunity to play.”
Riggs said his players had come to grips with it Saturday and understood there is a lot they can’t control and all they can do is move forward and focus on what is next.
“They have handled the whole year very well,” Riggs said. “They have held up well through it all. The things they had to go through in the spring and summer and the things we weren’t able to do, it would have been easy to sit back and blame others and complain about the circumstances, but they didn’t. They realized it was a blessing to do the things we got to do and to be able to play this season at all. Really, I believe they have come to appreciate even more knowing what a great opportunity it is to play football. They are trying to take advantage of every opportunity they can get.”
Broken Arrow comes to town with a 2-1 record. The Tigers have wins against Bentonville West (Arkansas) 50-23 and Union 14-7. Their one loss came against Class 6A-1 No. 1 Owasso 32-6.
“Broken Arrow is a very good football program,” Riggs said. “They are good every year. Just like the last few years, they are a physical football team. They want to run the football and control the line of scrimmage. They are very physical on defense as well. They want to play an attack style of defense. We both want to run the ball and control the line of scrimmage, so it is going to be a very physical football game.”
Riggs said the Tigers have switched up their defensive schemes form years past.
“They are a little bit unorthodox from what you traditionally see,” Riggs said. “They will have some snaps where all 11 guys are standing up and moving around to try and keep you from having an idea of where they are going to fit up front or what coverage they are in. They also like to move their DB’s around quite a bit. They really force you to make your decisions post snap instead of pre-snap, so it puts a lot of pressure on your offense.”
With Jenks not having played a game in two weeks and Broken Arrow being a rivalry game, Riggs said it is important for his players to focus on preparation and not emotion this week.
“It is a big game and we haven’t played in a while,” Riggs said. “It would be easy to let your emotions get the best of you, but you tend to make more mistakes when you are controlled by your emotions instead of your preparation. We are going to try and have a great week of preparation and have a good understanding of what Broken Arrow likes to do and go into the game prepared. When you are prepared, you have confidence and that is what we are going to need Friday night.”
The Tigers are coached by David Alexander, who was an assistant at Jenks for several years prior to taking the head job with Broken Arrow.