Season’s Changing as High School Football Begins

Editor at Large

CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAM: Jenks celebrates its win last year over Union in the annual Backyard Bowl game. The Trojans have won state titles in eight of the last 11 seasons. In the lower middle of the photo is coaching genius Alan Trimble. In the middle holding the trophy is Ed Farris of Mid-First Bank, the sponsor of the game. The Trojans are expected to have another excellent team. This year’s Backyard Bowl is scheduled to be played Sept. 7 on Skelly Field at Chapman Stadium.

GTR Newspapers photo

Forget those proverbs that languish in the pages of the Farmer’s Almanac.

Put aside the songwriter’s nostalgic notions about spring.

Autumn, not spring, is the season of change.

Autumn is all about renewal. Rebirth. Rejuvenation.

There is a restorative power in autumn that is absent in all other seasons.

Only autumn can refresh. Only autumn can regenerate.

Only autumn brings with it football.

Autumn is the sports world’s way of saying, “Are you ready for some football?”

In some corners of the greater Tulsa sports world, fans always are ready for some football. For some, football never goes away.

Broken Arrow, for instance. Union, as well.

Those communities have been talking football since the dead of winter.

Both communities were sowing the seeds of football in January.
Now, they are ready to reap.

Broken Arrow brought in arguably the highest profile football personality in its history.

Union hired its third coach in three years.

At Jenks, it’s business as usual. The championship business.
The 6A championship last December was the eighth in 11 seasons for the Trojans.

Championships are seen as a birthright in Jenks.
Gold balls might be a little rarer in east Tulsa, but expectations are just as high at East Central as they are in Jenks.

East Central followed its 2005 5A state championship with an undefeated regular season and a 12-1 semifinal finish, and that was seen as a disappointing year.

As the season of hope, the season of growth dawns on the final Friday of August, several new faces can be found tilling the football soil of greater Tulsa.

First and foremost is Ron Lancaster. The 65-year-old Lancaster is one of Oklahoma’s coaching giants. He’s won state championships at Enid and Jenks. He’s won state championships in California. He’s won 278 high school football games and turned everyday programs at Sallisaw and Muskogee into state contenders.

At a school where football trophies are rare and state championship trophies are non-existent, Lancaster offers change and a promise of rejuvenation.

“I have no doubt that coach Lancaster will get Broken Arrow to where we want to go, and that is the state championship,” says B.A. Director of Athletics Ken Ellett.

At Union, Kirk Fridrich is the ray of sunshine that could brighten the outlook for a football program that not so long ago was accustomed to greatness but was buried in a field of embarrassment for one 11-game season.

The Outsider Experiment of 2006 produced an unacceptable 7-4 record at Union under Indiana import Kevin Wright.

Fridrich, an assistant under Bill Blankenship in the halcyon days, returns to Union after stints as a head coach at Stillwater (2002-05) and Owasso (2006).

The season of growth, the season of change is in full bloom at a number of Tulsa-area schools where new football coaches are sowing the seeds for tomorrow.

Scott Harmon is a new, yet familiar face at Tulsa Central. He was the Braves’ coach in 2001 but left and found success at Pawnee (2004 Class A state championship). He is returning to begin his second stint at Central.

Wade Weller will be making his debut as head coach at Edison, while Owasso welcomes in Bill Patterson as Fridrich’s replacement, and Brent Marley will be introduced as the head coach for the first time when Victory Christian kicks off its new season.

Just as new coaches and new faces generate the waves optimism and hope for tomorrow on the high school campuses, the veteran presence of Alan Trimble along the Jenks sidelines has Trojan faithful hoping to avoid change and hoping for a season of maintaining and embracing the status quo.

No change here. No rebuilding dreams. No new day dawning.
With Trimble at the helm, they just do what they have done for more than a decade.

Other schools see autumn as a season of hope, a season of rebirth, a season of change.

At Jenks, the only thing changing in autumn is the number of gold footballs in the trophy case.

Updated 08-21-2007

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