Successful football programs in Class 3A often come with a special bond between the school and town.
Talent and coaching still trumps all factors in winning, but community support can help turn a program into a yearly contender.
Here’s a look at how three of the schools in the preseason top 10 have benefited from that type of backing.
Kingfisher: A winning mindset
In Kingfisher, the defending Class 3A state champions are surrounded by an expectation for success that goes beyond football.
The community and school administration has placed an emphasis on fostering the winning mindset.
“Kingfisher, I think, is a unique community in the sense that the people expect to do well and succeed in everything,” said Superintendent Jason Sternberger. “It obviously shows in football, but that community support goes through all our sports, and FFA, and band, and whatever else. It just bleeds from one activity to the next.”
Over the past 11 years, the Yellowjackets are 125-25 with six trips to the state championship game and two titles.
Jeff Myers has been a major part of the recent success since becoming the head coach in 2004.
“Coach Myers deserves a lot a credit for organizing the way he runs the program,” said Sternberger, the father of defensive end Jace Sternberger. “As kids go through the system and develop, they just continually turn into good players. He also has a good outreach and communication with the parents. That stuff can go a long way.”
Bethany: Top-notch facilities
Bethany High School is part of a tight-knit community surrounded by the metro area.
The unique bond is especially evident on Friday nights in the fall.
“It’s special that we have a small-town atmosphere within our whole school system, yet we’re locked in the heart of the city,” said Bethany coach Reagan Roof. “That’s unheard of today.”
A recent rise in success has helped develop that passion. The Bronchos had a sub-par program in the 1990s, but have turned things around in the past 15 years including a Class 2A title in 2003.
Bethany’s community support has been as good as any 3A school could ask for, as evidenced by some of the state’s best facilities. In the past five years, the program has raised money for an indoor practice facility, a 3,000 square-foot weight room, and a new locker room.
“Every facility at this place is new within the last 10 years,” Roof said. “Since we’ve had a little bit of success it’s kind of been a combination of parents’ support, administration support, and just everyone getting involved. People have donated in every way, not just with money. If someone is an electrician they’ll come do the electrical for a facility, or a plumber, or construction.”
Seminole: A coach in it
for the long haul
At Seminole, the town has rallied around what Mike Snyder has built.
Over Snyder’s 34 years as coach, Seminole has averaged 9.5 wins a season. He is second in all-time wins among Oklahoma coaches with a record of 323-99.
“I think it’s a unique community in the sense that there’s been so much tradition here that expectations are high from our kids and the town,” Snyder said. “As a result we pretty much fill the bleachers up every Friday night and we travel well to road games.”
Snyder has led the Chieftains to the playoffs 29 consecutive years, the second-longest current streak in the state.
The community has responded by provided for the program. Last season, a new $100,000 video board was put in at Chieftain Stadium, which Snyder says was paid for by the community.
“We’ve got a great administration and when you put that together with a great community, you can get what you need and want for your program,” Snyder said. “Money has never been an object at Seminole with this program. It’s always been a ‘what can I do for you?’ or ‘what do you need?’ situation. I have a lot of former players who are out there in the business world that help take care of us. I think that’s one of the advantages to staying in one place a long time.”