Cecil Reinke's All-State book reminds us of the strength of Oklahoma high school football

Cecil Reinke has a new book chronicling the All-State football teams selected by The Oklahoman. This year's team will be No. 100, a milestone we'll be celebrating throughout the rest of the season.
by Jenni Carlson Published: October 13, 2012
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Cecil Reinke seems an unlikely curator of high school football in Oklahoma.

He lives in Oregon. He is a retired lawyer. He teaches college classes in conflict management and negotiations.

Doesn't exactly scream high school football historian, does it?

Yet, Reinke has a new book chronicling the All-State teams in our fair state. “Oklahoma All-State Football Teams of the Twentieth Century” is a compilation of the honor squads selected by our staff here at The Oklahoman. We named the first one in 1913 and continued every year since.

That means this season's team will be No. 100.

This is a milestone that we'll celebrate throughout the rest of the season. Starting in November, we'll have weekly packages commemorating past All-State teams.

“I realize football is not history like war and peace and all that,” Reinke said, “but it's still history. And I think that history includes the mundane, the ordinary everyday life.

“Sometimes to understand history, you'd got to understand what the ordinary guy was doing.”

He chuckled.

“And ordinary football teams.”

But why was Reinke interested in ones in Oklahoma?

He is a native Oklahoman, born and raised in Clinton where Red Tornado football is king. He was a sophomore on a 1949 squad considered the first of many great teams at Clinton.

He remembers vividly the final game of that season. Clinton came to Oklahoma City to play in the state semifinals. It faced Capitol Hill, which had a student body six times bigger than Clinton's, and played at Taft Stadium.

“The biggest place I'd ever seen at the time,” Reinke said.

Reinke wrote a book about that season called “Red Tornado Football: The Team That Triggered the Tradition,” though he admits it wasn't because he had a big hand in the team's success.

“To be perfectly truthful with you,” he said, “I never got above third string.”

But he played throughout high school because that's what his friends did. He loved being with his buddies. He loved the camaraderie of the team. He loved everything about high school football.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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