Union does it again...
I wasn’t there, so I’m not going to pretend I was. Here is the Tulsa World’s Matt Baker’s account of another epic Union-Jenks battle.
Union 50, Jenks 47
After I botched last year’s state title pick and flip-flopped on Union, I vowed to go with my gut this year.
I did – and I was still wrong.
I underestimated Union. Again.
After covering four of Jenks’ regular-season games, I didn’t see how anyone could stop that high-powered offense. I was right about that – the Trojans still put up 47 points. But I didn’t give enough credit to Union’s playmakers or coaches.
When Jenks’ Alex Ross scored two touchdowns in the first two minutes, I thought the game was over. It was a flashback of last year’s state title game when Union took an early 14-0 lead and Jenks never recovered.
“Drive home safely,” I told another reporter on the sidelines.
But Union came back in one of the best high school games I’ve seen. Two main reasons why: coaching and clutch plays.
Kirk Fridrich and his staff made some gutsy calls. A fourth-and-1 rush in their own territory. A fake field goal. A lateral/wide receiver pass for the game-winner. And don’t forget the overall scheme – exploiting Jenks’ secondary with a few bombs to Christian Hood. Keep in mind that this came a year after Union shocked Jenks on the opening kickoff with a well-executed trick play that turned into a score.
This isn’t a knock against Jenks’ staff, by the way. Had the Trojans prevailed, Allan Trimble would have been my pick for coach of the year. Union’s coaches just had the edge Friday.
I got one part of my preview blog right: Union “played in more close games, so it knows how to win when it matters.” The Redskins proved that.
Union had trailed big early before (Broken Arrow, Bartlesville) and rallied to win, so that 14-0 hole against Jenks didn’t seem so daunting. A double-overtime victory over Lawton in the semifinals helped with confidence, too.
“A lot of it’s the heart of the kids,” Fridrich said at practice a few days before the game. “We’ve got great determination and pride in what we’re doing.”
So Union made the plays when it counted. Fourth-down conversions. Good tackling late. A fumble recovery. A perfectly executed trick play in the final minute. A sack on the game’s penultimate play. And so on.
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