Jenks set to host Norman North in 6A-1 quarterfinals

Jenks set to host Norman North in 6A-1 quarterfinals

Jenks will host a west side opponent for the second-straight week in the 6A-1 playoffs, as Norman North comes to town take on the Trojans for a 7 p.m. Friday kickoff at Allan Trimble Stadium.

No. 2 ranked Jenks comes into the matchup with the Timberwolves 8-1 overall after beating Moore 51-19 last week in the opening round.

Norman North sits at 6-3 overall after topping rival Norman 42-34 to advance out of the first round of the postseason.

“The thing that stands out on film is how big and physical of a team they are,” Jenks coach Keith Riggs said. “They average about 300 pounds across their offensive line and have a really good rushing attack with a really good running back. Defensively, it’s kind of the same thing, they are big and physical. They put a lot of pressure on you, try to force you into some mistakes. I expect a really good football game.”

Unlike the opening round of the playoffs, the Jenks coaches had the normal amount of time to prepare for the T-Wolves once they knew Norman North had beat Norman last Friday.

“We were joking around this weekend about how it felt like we had a lot of extra time after the previous week,” Riggs said. “We had our normal weekend schedule, which was good to have to work on them and prepare.”

Jenks Public Schools announced last week its plan for students in grades 7 through 12 to go back to distance learning through Dec. 7, which would take the football players through remainder of the postseason. School began with distance learning back in August but shifted to in-school learning in September.

“They (players) have been very resilient through all this and I don’t expect this to be any different,” Riggs said. “We have modified our schedule just a little bit to cut down on the potential for coming back-and-forth to the stadium. The afternoons, for the most part, are going to be just like it has been all year.”

Jenks’ run game was stifled early in the game against Moore due to the Lions’ stacking the box and trying to take away the Trojans’ bread and butter.

“Moore had a really good game plan defensively for us to try and stop the run, so we are going to have to be prepared for Norman North or other teams down the road to try and do similar things,” Riggs said. “I thought we handled it really well. We were able to counter attack with our passing game, but we are going to have to be able to handle different looks and things we haven’t seen and adjust to them hopefully a little quicker than we did against Moore. We did over time. We came out in the second half and made some adjustments. I thought we did really well in the third quarter, but we are going to see some more of that as we move through the playoffs.”

The Trojans’ starting defense only allowed one scoring drive for the Lions in three quarters.

“Defensively, I thought we played a really good football game except for one drive,” Riggs said. “You are not ever going to have perfection, but certainly when we have a third and long, we need to make sure to get off the field and force a punt and we didn’t do that a couple of times on that one drive. Those are some little things, but again, by now it is going to be just the little things that are left. At this point, you are going to try and fix those things and be even better than you were the week before.”

The Timberwolves were 5-3 in the regular season and finished third in their district behind Owasso and Union.

The like opponents for the Trojans and Norman North in 2020 are Edmond Memorial, Yukon, Moore, Union, and Norman.

Jenks defeated Edmond Memorial 48-6, while the T-Wolves beat the Bulldogs 46-7. The Trojans beat Yukon 38-7, while Norman North lost to the Millers 41-24. The Trojans handled Moore 51-19, while the Timberwolves beat the Lions 35-28. Jenks shutout Union 28-0, while Norman North lost 50-25 and the Trojans beat Norman 42-13, while the T-Wolves beat the Tigers 42-34.

With every team in 6A-1 making the postseason in 2020, there are four rounds, which means Jenks gets to host two playoff games instead of one.

“Playing at home is always good,” Riggs said. “There are very familiar surroundings, you have got your routine down, you aren’t walking into a locker room you have never been in before or don’t know what you are going to be dealing with in a facility somewhere else, so it’s always good to play at home. Our seniors get one additional home game, so it is always good to be at home.”

The winner of Friday’s game will advance to the 6A-1 semifinals on Thanksgiving week and take on the winner of Owasso and Mustang, who also play Friday.

Kyle Salomon

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