High school football: Could Deer Creek be the next Jenks?
Deer Creek has grown from a tiny rural school to a 5A program with impressive facilities. The story sounds similar to that of a certain Tulsa-area school: Class 6A powerhouse Jenks.
In 1971, Jenks reached the state finals in football for just second time in school history. The Trojans lost to Watonga, 14-6, in the Class 2A state championship game.
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Jenks was just a small rural school in Tulsa County at the time. It hardly could even be considered a suburb.
Since then, the population of Jenks and its schools has grown tremendously. Jenks is now the third-largest school in the state and its football program is a powerhouse with 12 state titles.
Could Deer Creek one day be another Jenks? There are certainly similarities. Deer Creek once was just a tiny rural school near Edmond.
Deer Creek was competing in Class A football when it first formed in 1976. By 1982, it had grown to Class 2A.
By 1996, it was in Class 3A and four years later the Antlers won their only state football championship.
In 2002, Deer Creek was reassigned to Class 4A. Four years later, the Antlers were playing 5A football.
Now, the second-ranked Antlers are contending for the Class 5A title and someday soon will be playing 6A football against the likes of Jenks.
“I see a lot of parallels,” Deer Creek coach Grant Gower said. “We are right on the edge of a metropolitan area like Jenks. Academically, Jenks is such a draw for people and it's the same thing here.”
When Gower became an assistant principal at the school 11 years ago, Deer Creek had one Little League football team.
Now, through the Deer Creek Optimist League, there are 11 teams of elementary school-age kids playing football, all using the same system of terminology the high school team does.