It's sort of a Civil War of Oklahoma high school football.
The boundary lines are clearly drawn for the Class 6A quarterfinals: the top four teams on the west side of the state (Edmond North, Edmond Santa Fe, Norman, Norman North) will face the four beasts from the east (Jenks, Tulsa Union, Owasso and Broken Arrow) on Friday night.
Can a west-side team pull an upset and finally end the east's reign on the Class 6A throne?
“I don't think it's an east-west thing. It's more of a Jenks-Union thing,” Edmond North coach Jeremy Dombek said. “You can't argue with what they've done. They are clearly the cream of the crop. They set the bar every year.”
Jenks or Tulsa Union has won every 6A state football title since 1996. Union has won the last four and six of the last eight.
“They have done such a great job with their total program and it starts at an early age for them, in the third grade,” Dombek said.
“We really don't see our kids until the ninth grade. We don't really have a chance to teach our philosophy and our schemes until the ninth grade. How much of an advantage is that? I don't know. You could debate it a lot of ways.
“I just think what they've done program-wise and the commitment the community has made to football gives them an edge.”
While Edmond North (10-1) travels to Jenks (9-2), Edmond Santa Fe (10-1) will host Tulsa Union (9-2).
“I don't think its good when Jenks or Tulsa Union win it every year,” Santa Fe coach Lance Manning said. “I know there are a lot of people that want the west to break through and do well. Nobody's goal over here is to be the best on the west side of the state.”
But is this the year it will happen? Dombek thinks the gap between his team and the top two 6A programs from Jenks and Tulsa Union has gotten smaller.
“We are getting closer,” he said. “We feel we have made some tremendous strides. Obviously, Jenks and Yukon, you would have to call them the favorites just because of recent history, but we like the fact it seems more open than in recent years.”
Manning said clubs facing Tulsa Union and Jenks either are intimidated or raise their level of play.