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Owasso Rams Win Oklahoma Title Under Coaching of Bill Blankenship

By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer

TROPHY TIME: Owasso head football coach Bill Blankenship holds the Oklahoma High School Class 6A Division I football trophy after defeating Union Dec. 1 at Tulsa’s H.A. Chapman Stadium. The players in the photo are Dylan Chapman (17), Grant Vanlandingham (10) and Devin Tyler (11).


DEAN ATCHISON for GTR Newspapers


From the moment it took its first snap in its 2017 season opener, the potential of Owasso winning state could be seen. The mission was accomplished as the Rams defeated Union, 21-14, in the Class 6A Division-I championship game Dec. 1 at Chapman Stadium on the campus of the University of Tulsa.

A team that finished 3-7 in 2016, Owasso made significant changes in the offseason that led to a dramatic turnaround. A huge plus was the hiring of Bill Blankenship as head coach. Blankenship had won state championships at Union in 2002, 2004, 2005 and at Fayetteville, Arkansas, last year, as well as the Conference USA championship in 2012 when he was head coach at the University of Tulsa. That same year, he led TU to a Liberty Bowl victory over Iowa State.

Another significant development for Owasso resulted from a friendship that began on social media between wide receiver Dylan Chin and junior quarterback Will Kuehne, the son of former Oklahoma State golf standout Trip Kuehne, coming up to Owasso as a move-in from Texas. Running back Bryce Cabrera joined in on the friendship, and things took off from there.

Kuehne eventually made contact with the local coaching legend Blankenship. Kuehne says, “When I first came to Owasso, I mentioned to Coach Blankenship that I wanted to win the state championship. This was my ultimate goal and the team’s ultimate goal. After I told him that, the mindset of the team just focused and it happened. It is just awesome.”

This was the second state championship for Owasso, who last shared an AAA title with Ada in 1974, after both teams finished the championship game in a tie.

The Rams (12-1), who entered the game No. 2 in the state in Class 6AI, had played solid defense against the Redskins, last year’s champion, turning them away at the goal line twice (forcing turnovers on downs and a fumble) and making two interceptions, including a game-clincher by Dawson Adams at the goal line in the final minute.

As the seconds ticked off, the Owasso student body charged the field to celebrate with the players.

“They are basically part of the team,” Kuehne says. “When they are loud, they are having fun, and it makes the energy for us that much better and easier to play when people are pumped up and excited.”

Kuehne rushed for two touchdowns from one yard each and totaled 297 yards of offense. He threw for 247 yards on 24-of- 35 attempts and rushed for 50 yards on 13 carries.

Running back Bryce Cabrera ran for 100 yards on 20 carries and scored one touchdown. He also led the Rams in receiving with eight catches for 103 yards.

Owasso lost to Union 44-41 in overtime when the two teams met in a regular season game on Sept. 29 at Union-Tuttle Stadium. The Rams saw leads of 20-6 and 27-20 slip away in that game. They would not allow it to happen this time. They got out to a 14-0 lead in the first half, led 14-7 at the break, and were up 21-7 after scoring on their first possession of the second half. 

“We just executed,” Kuehne says. “The defense just played awesome in the first half. I think them stepping up really allowed us as the offense to go out and make the plays that we made, so I give a lot of credit to them, and all the guys around me making me look good. They’re just an awesome, awesome team to be with.”

In the championship game, Cabrera’s TD came on Owasso’s first possession, which followed a Union punt. Kuehne got his first TD to open the second quarter.

Union would miss a field goal and turn the ball over on downs before scoring with 32 seconds left in the half on a two-yard run by Darius Boone. It drove to the red zone again after Owasso scored to start the second half, but fumbled with nose guard Tyler Moody recovering at the Rams’ 3-yard line.

The Redskins would get momentum late when quarterback Peyton Thompson hit A.K. Wilson for an 86-yard touchdown late in the third quarter.

With the score being where it would finish, Owasso had a chance to increase the lead by 10 points but missed a 33-yard field goal attempt.

Union had one last chance to tie the game and possibly send the game into overtime. Redskins’ quarterback Thompson completed a 41-yard pass to Oklahoma State commit C.J. Moore that set them up at the Rams’ 39-yard line. But two plays later, Adams made the pick that insured the Rams’ title.

“It’s a little surreal,” Kuehne said, about winning state. “It’s the goal that we set out at the beginning of the season, and it’s awesome that we can finally come out and accomplish what we had set out at the beginning of the season that we wanted to do.”

Other key players on the Rams’ championship squad was defensive back Josh Proctor and linebacker Wayne Jones, commits to Ohio State and Kansas State, respectively, linebacker Carson Kropp, wide receiver Tyrese Sisson, defensive end Courtre Alexander and defensive back Duece Mayberry.

“I’m going to enjoy this one a little bit. But it will be awesome to be here for this experience next year,” Kuehne says. “It’s awesome that we’re state champions. What more could you ask for?”

Updated 12-19-2017

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