JENKS TRIBUNE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Jenks hopes to keep east-side streak alive, Santa Fe wants to snap it
Jenks and Edmond Santa Fe were scheduled to play their regular season district game Oct. 16, but the game was postponed due to COVID-19.
Following several failed attempts at trying to schedule a date to make up the game, the contest was officially canceled, which left the Trojans with only five district games and the Wolves with six.
It was the only game this season, which was canceled for Santa Fe, but the second for Jenks, who’s game at Enid was called off minutes prior to kickoff.
Both the Trojans and the Wolves were unbeaten in district play, but because Edmond Santa Fe played six games and Jenks played five, Santa got the not over the Trojans for the No. 1 seed.
Now, after three rounds of playoffs, it seems like destiny that these two teams will meet at 1 p.m. Saturday for a 6A-1 state championship at Wantland Stadium on the campus of University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
The Wolves are led by junior receiver Talyn Shettron, who is considered by many national recruiting services the best receiver in the nation in the junior class. Shettron is a University of Oklahoma commit.
Jenks coach Keith Riggs said Shettron is the best his team will face all year, but Edmond Santa Fe is more than just one player.
“He’s an outstanding receiver, the best we have seen all year,” Riggs said. “He is such a matchup problem for teams. They do a great job of taking advantage of that. They run the ball so well, so you almost have to choose if you are going to stop the run or put an extra safety over the top of him. It is going to be important that we make good decisions and read our keys and we are in the right place at the right time to control his touches the best we can.”
After losing its first two games of the season to Owasso and Stillwater, Edmond Santa Fe has reeled off 10 straight wins.
“They have a big and physical offensive line, and they are very talented on the outside,” Riggs said. “They have weapons on offense and have really been able to utilize them and put teams in a bind. We are going to have to play well Saturday. Their defense is very athletic. They started playing Shettron at cornerback late in the season, so that adds another element to their defense. They will have the best duo of corners we will have faced all year. They are physical up front. Their two defensive ends are both Division I caliber players. This is a great challenge and opportunity to play a team like that.”
The Wolves are averaging 42.5 points per game and allowing 25.8. They are averaging 447.8 yards per game and allowing 310.8. They have passed for 3,144 yards and rushed for 1,684 yards.
“Union had been running the ball very well as the year went on and they did a great job of taking that away from them and forced them to throw the ball more than they wanted to and they were able to get four interceptions in the process,” Riggs said. “It’s a very opportunistic defense.
Edmond Santa Fe beat Edmond North, Westmoore and Union on its path to the state championship game. Jenks beat Moore, Norman North, and Owasso to advance to the final round.
“One of the great things about this team is it is a veteran team, a very mature group,” Riggs said. “As much as they were looking forward to playing Owasso, and as excited as they were with the victory, they know what is left and what is at stake. They know how to prepare week-in and week-out and we will continue to emphasize preparation for our opponent. All the things we have been doing, we have to continue to do, so I think we will be ready to go this Saturday.”
Jenks has not lost to a 6A-1 opponent. The Trojans’ lone loss came in their second game of the season in a 42-35 loss to 6A-2 No. 1 and nationally ranked Bixby.
“There has been a little edge to them and in their preparation,” Riggs said. “So many of this year’s starters played in last year’s state championship game and realize how close we were against another outstanding football team. We were right there and had our chances and fell a little short. That feeling tends to stick with you. You don’t want to feel that way again. I think that helped our kids and kept us with the right focus.”
The west side of the state has not won a title in the state’s largest class since 1995. Edmond Santa Fe will try to break that streak Saturday against Jenks.
“I think the east-west issue is great for the fans and generates more interest in the game as well,” Riggs said. “Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where they are from. They are a great football team. It doesn’t change our preparation or the things we are going to do this week and the things we will do Saturday.”