Better for Jenks, Owasso to meet in semifinals than finals
Let’s rewind nearly a year to early December 2019. Jenks and Owasso played in the 2019 6A-I state championship game in, yes, Edmond at the University of Central Oklahoma.
No, that is not a misprint. Two Tulsa-area schools drove nearly two hours to play for the gold ball.
Why, you ask?
Well, during the 2019 season, the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) made the decision to play all Oklahoma high school football state championship games at Wantland Stadium on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma.
This decision was made even though in the state’s two largest classes, Tulsa-area schools have dominated for nearly two-and-a-half decades.
Jenks, Union, Broken Arrow and Owasso have won every 6A and 6A-I state championship since 1995 and Bixby and Booker T. Washington have won every 6A-II state championship since the formation of the division.
So, it makes perfect sense to make the blanket decision and play every state title game in Edmond, right? No, not even a little bit.
After this decision was confirmed, Tulsa-area sports writers voiced their disagreement and concern over the decision by the OSSAA. Those disagreements and concerns were met by Oklahoma City-area sports writers insinuating Tulsa-area people just need to quit complaining and that “most” other sports’ championships are played in the Tulsa-area anyway.
Those comments made by the Oklahoma City-area sports writers became hilarious to me after having to travel to Oklahoma City, Edmond, and Choctaw (all OKC-area sites) this fall to cover state softball, state cross country and state volleyball.
Now, if Jenks football advances to the 6A-I championship game, I will be making a fourth trip to the Oklahoma City-area to cover a state event.
For any sport not named football, I do believe the OSSAA should be able to figure out how to alternate every year between Oklahoma City and Tulsa on where the state tournaments are played.
However, football should be handled differently.
Football playoffs are not played in a two or three-day state tournament setting, so it should be done based on who is playing in the state title games.
If two Oklahoma City-area schools are playing, the game should be played in the OKC-area. If two Tulsa-area schools are playing, it should be played in the Tulsa-area. If two schools are from different areas, the OSSAA should do it’s best to find a neutral location for the game to be played. No questions asked.
I mean, just imagine the outcry from Oklahoma City-area sports media and high school sports fans if you made two Oklahoma City-area schools play at the University of Tulsa for the 6A-I gold ball. No, they would not be okay with that and neither should Tulsa-area people be okay with having to drive to Edmond to watch two Tulsa-area schools play.
That was a long, winding road to bring me to my point, but I believe it needed to be said. I am happy Jenks and Owasso are playing in the semifinals and not the finals. This game deserves to be played in the Tulsa-area and it will at 7 p.m. Friday at Broken Arrow High School.
These two teams are the two best teams in 6A-I this year and even though it won’t be played for a gold ball, it will be the best game in 6A-I, or for that matter, in the entire state we see all of 2020.
I sure am glad I don’t have to drive two hours to see it happen.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy the Jenks Tribune.