By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sport Writer
Jenks reigns as state football champions again.
The Trojans won their first title since 2015 after they dispensed of Edmond Santa Fe, 41-14, in the Class 6AI final on Dec. 5 at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Wantland Stadium in Edmond.
It was the 17th state championship in program history for Jenks, its 14th in 25 years and first under the coaching regime of Keith Riggs.
“I’m very happy for Coach Riggs,” junior defensive back Cade Stacy said. “It’s his first one as a head coach, which I know means a lot to him. I know it would have made Coach (Allen) Trimble proud.”
Riggs became head coach in spring of 2018 after being an assistant for 15 seasons under the legendary Trimble, who retired at that time. Trimble, who was the Trojans’ head coach for 22 seasons, passed away in Dec. 2019 after battling ALS.
Jenks made the 6AI final the past two seasons, coming up short both times. That would not be the case in 2020.
A highlighted play of the game came when Stacy ran an interception back 32 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. He also made one solo tackle and two pass breakups. The TD was the game-clincher as it brought the score to where it ended. No points were made in the final eight minutes.
“The key was, all throughout the game, I noticed the quarterback (Scott Pfeiffer of Edmond Santa Fe) was giving a hint on where he was going to throw before the play and I knew the snap count,” Stacy said. “So I picked it off. It was all with preparation because we had a great week of practice.”
Stacy said he couldn’t even celebrate after the TD. “I was just so excited. I usually don’t celebrate when I score anyway,” he said.
The Trojans (11-1) faced a 7-0 deficit early when they allowed the Timberwolves’ Angelo Rankin to run the opening kickoff back 86 yards for a TD.
“We decided we were going to kick it to somebody else, but the wind caught it, and we kicked it to the wrong dude,” Stacy said. “After the play, we were like, ‘It doesn’t matter. We have four quarters to play. One score isn’t going to make or break us.’ We didn’t put our heads down. Offense did what they always do and our defense just did what we do too.”
Jenks would get its first points on a field goal and took the lead 10-7 when senior wide receiver Jayden Patrick caught a 27-yard TD pass from senior quarterback Stephen Kittleman with 1:44 left in the opening quarter.
Jenks added two more TDs in the second quarter on a 17-yard run by senior running back Grant Lohr and a fumble recovery by Patrick in the end zone.
The Trojans led 27-14 at intermission.
Griffin Forbes, another senior running back, scored a seven-yard TD, increasing the lead to 34-14 in the third quarter.
“The only time we felt like we had the upper hand was when the game was over,” Stacy said. “It didn’t matter what the score was, we kept going as hard as we could until the final click on the clock.”
Patrick finished with five catches for 101 yards, Lohr ran for 154 yards on 33 carries and Kittleman passed for 237 yards on 16-of-21 attempts.
Jenks, who finished No. 2 in the final regular season poll, reached the final after dominating Number 1 Owasso, 39-15, in the semifinals.
That game meant a lot to Stacy, not just revenge for a 14-6 loss to the Rams in last year’s final, but he moved his freshman year with his family to Jenks from Owasso.
“I probably had my best game last year in the state final, but losing to them after I moved hurt,” Stacy said. “So beating Owasso like that in the semifinals this year was like a cherry on top for this season.”
Still, winning state was a feeling like no other.
“You can’t even put it into words what it feels like when it actually happens,” Stacy said. “All the hard work, all the hours, all the workouts, all the film and everything building up to that moment. I’m just happy that we seized it.”
Editor’s Note: In the Dec. Issue of the Jenks District Gazette, the last name of the Jenks Swimming Coach Diego Henao was misspelled. GTR Media Group apologizes for this error.