Jenks runs through Owasso, clinches another state title appearance
Jenks left no doubt Friday in its semifinal matchup with No. 1 ranked and unbeaten Owasso.
The Trojans dismantled the defending 6A-1 champions 39-15 at Broken Arrow Memorial Stadium and avenged their loss to the Rams in last season’s state title game.
Owasso got the ball to start the game, but fumbled on its first play, which was recovered by Jenks’ defensive tackle A.J. Brown.
Two-plays later, the Trojans got on the board with a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Stephen Kittleman to receiver Ty Walls.
Place-kicker Max Paskvan was good with the extra-point and Jenks led 7-0 in the first minute of the contest.
“Against a good team like Owasso, you have to play well from start to finish,” Jenks coach Keith Riggs said. “The turnover to start the game was huge to swing the momentum our way and our guys did a great job not giving up that momentum.”
Jenks running back and safety Grant Lohr echoed his coach’s comments.
“That was a big momentum switch for us,” Lohr said. “Then we got the ball coming out of the half, so it was basically like we got the ball to start each half. We kept them down after that. We didn’t let them get back in the game. We kept control the whole time.”
The Trojans would put another scoring drive together in the opening frame, this one capped by a 22-yard run from Lohr. Paskvan was good with the point after attempt and Jenks led 14-0 after one quarter.
The Trojan defense jumped in on the scoring party with a safety on a tackle by defensive lineman Coleman Thurber to give Jenks a 16-0 advantage early in the second.
After another solid defensive possession from the Trojans, Lohr would again get loose for a long score, this one from 59 yards to give Jenks a 23-0 lead following the Paskvan extra-point.
Owasso reached the end zone for the first time late in the first half on an Emery Neeley two-yard run. Hagen Hood was good with the PAT and the Rams cut the Trojan lead to 23-7.
Jenks would tack on three more points before halftime on a Paskvan 38-yard field goal to give the Trojans a 26-7 advantage heading into the locker room.
The Trojans didn’t let their foot off the gas in the second half. Jenks took the opening possession of the third quarter and took nearly eight minutes off the clock. The drive ended with another Psakvan field goal, this one from 22 yards to give the Trojans a 29-7 lead.
“When you come out and have the lead and then chew up that much clock and get some points out of it has to take the air out of your opponent a little bit,” Riggs said. “It really set the tone for the second half for us.”
Owasso scored its second and final touchdown on the following possession on a 47-yard pass from Austin Havens to Hakelan Carney followed by a successful two-point conversion to cut the Jenks’ lead to 29-15 going into the fourth quarter.
The Trojans added another touchdown in the final frame on a one-yard run from Lohr and another field goal from Paskvan to give Jenks 10 more points and secure the victory.
“Even off their two scoring drives, we turned around and took the momentum right back from them,” Riggs said. “Our offense did a great job. I felt like we had two good game plans on both sides of the ball, but ultimately, it’s your kids who have to execute the game plan and they did a great job of executing tonight.”
Jenks finished the game with 352 yards of offense, including 236 rushing and 116 passing. The Trojans had 18 first downs and were 3 of 11 on third down attempts.
Kittleman was 13 of 21 for 116 yards with one touchdown. Lohr rushed 185 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries and Waylon Adams caught four passes for 69 yards.
Jenks held Owasso to 208 yards of offense, including 158 rushing and 150 passing. The Rams had eight first downs and were 1 of 11 on third down attempts.
Trojan linebacker Ethan Bilgrien had 13.5 tackles.
Jenks turned Owasso over four times in the game. Brown recovered a fumble, while Lohr, cornerback Jayden Patrick and safety Joey Havir each had interceptions.
“We were locked in all week,” Lohr said. “We knew what was coming. Owasso is a great team. I feel like we had that fire after last year losing to them 14-6 in state.”
With the win, Jenks advanced to the 6A-1 state championship game, which will be played at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Wantland Stadium on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma against the winner of Edmond Santa Fe and Union.
Edmond Santa Fe and Union play Saturday night at Owasso in the other 6A-1 semifinal.