Football Takes Center Stage Once Again

Editor at Large

HURRICANE TRADITION: Tulsa Hurricane quarterback G.J. Kinne stands in front of a photo of the 1942 Tulsa team in the school’s Reynolds Center. The 1942 team finished fourth in the nation and played in the Sugar Bowl. Kinne was named to the 2011 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award Watch List.

GTR Newspapers photo

Football is making its way back onto Oklahoma’s sporting stage, and back into the accompanying spotlight.
As if it ever left.

Still, the stage has been a little dark in its absence.

Over the last seven, eight months, since the last schoolboy walked off with a gold ball, since the last collegian walked off with a backpack of bowl bounty, football has been, dare we say, upstaged.

Remember February? Snow and cold were the only topics of conversation.

June, July? Conversations were basically limited to three words: hot, hotter, hottest.
Football had been unceremoniously shoved to the back burner by Mother Nature herself.

And, if anyone did attempt to steer the talk away from weather, toward football, there was the using words like “lockout” and “collective bargaining agreements.”
Well, things are about to change.

The calendar stops for no one. It’s August. September is just a flip of the page away.

Snow two-feet deep. Temperatures triple digits high.

Forget it. Old news.

September represents the kickoff of another football season.

There’s no sidestepping it.

As if anyone would want to.

Bring it on.

Let the high schools set the stage.

Let the colleges steal the show.

Nothing weather-related can steal the thunder from Jenks-Union football.
The Washington Hornets? The Cascia Hall Commandos? They can weather any storm.

Storm? The University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane – the most welcomed storm to hit Oklahoma – is forecast to blow straight out of the starting gate with new head coach Bill Blankenship at the helm.

The University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University are building toward the perfect storm, the showdown in Stillwater, Dec. 3. How important will that game be in clearing up the title pictures in the conference and in the nation?

The title picture has been pretty doggone transparent at the state’s highest high school plateau.

Jenks and Union. Union and Jenks.

It’s clear that no team in the state can talk either of these teams out of the Class 6A championship.

They are the only names engraved on the OSSAA Class 6A gold ball since 1996.
Jenks has won nine state titles in that span. Union owns the other six. That includes the last three in a row.

Until it snows in August, it’s a solid prediction that Union and Jenks will be on Cloud 9 once again come Championship Saturday in Stillwater.

There was a time when the Washington Hornets were on that same Union-Jenks pedestal. But then they took a brief intermission.

Yet, like Mark Twain said, the news of their demise was premature.
The Washington Hornets are back. And as good as ever.

They have won the Class 5A state championship in two of the last three seasons.
There is no indication that they are ready to leave the stage any time soon.
However, East Central will be among those trying to turn the lights out on Washington. Maybe Bishop Kelley, too.

Cascia Hall has had a long-running hit on the 2A and 3A circuit. The Commandos won three straight championships before the curtain came down prematurely on them last season. They are expecting to see their names in the bright lights again this time around.

Just off Broadway, trying to snag that brass ring, trying to shoulder their way into that rarefied air of celebrity are several hopefuls in the Greater Tulsa area.

Owasso and Broken Arrow tried out for starring roles last year in Class 6A. They will be taking another stab at it this year.

East Central is a steady performer in Class 5A. The Cardinals always have something to say once the show begins.

In classes 3A and 2A, Tulsa boasts three of the most luminous marquee programs in the state. And each is from the private sector.

Metro Christian is threatening to overtake Cascia Hall in 3A while Lincoln Christian has become a star in 2A, having taken home football’s equivalent of the Oscar in 2009.

The curtain goes up on the high school production Sept.1-2.

It will be a welcome relief for those who have suffered through snow and steam over the last few months.

But the showstopper – proof positive that football is back – is on the playbill for Sept. 3.

The University of Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma meet in Norman.

For Bill Blankenship, it will be his first time on stage as a college head coach. He will be playing opposite what could be the No. 1 team in the nation.

Now that’s the way to make an entrance.

Welcome back, football.

Oklahoma’s been through a lot since you left.

Updated 08-31-2011

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