In Oklahoma football is more than a game, it’s a passion. That passion kicks back into high gear this weekend with the beginning of both high school and college football. The biggest game of the weekend isn’t in Stillwater Oklahoma, El Paso Texas, or Ames Iowa. It’s Friday night at 7:05 at Tulsa’s H.A. Chapman stadium and it’s the annual Midfirst Bank Backyard Bowl featuring Union and Jenks. The two 6A powerhouses have won every 6A state football championship since 1996 and they enter 2012 ranked 1st (Union) and 2nd (Jenks.)
The rivalry between these giants has always been intense but it exploded in 1999 when they played the state championship game in what was then Skelly Stadium at TU. Over 40,000 showed up for the Jenks win and it’s been off to the races ever since. The crowds don’t reach to those kinds of numbers nowadays but close to 20,000 will show up to see the game. Some say that means the importance of this contest is slipping but not everyone agrees. “I think it’s bigger” one fan told KRMG news. Her reasoning was sound “It’s Union-Jenks, it’s a tradition and its number one versus number two.”
One of her friends chimed in as well “It’s bigger, no doubt.” A young lady standing in line for tickets had her own description of the atmosphere at the game. “It kind of makes you feel like you’re at an NFL game, it’s a ton of people” she smiled. She continued “the fans come and they get realty pumped up for it so I think the fans make it.”
One very excited couple found a different way to sum it up. “I told my people at the office it’s like Bedlam, its high school Bedlam.” Comparing this rivalry to the annual OU/OSU game is high praise but well placed.
As football kicks off remember it’s not just players and coaches who are performing. The bands, cheer squads, pom teams and spirit groups all take the field too.
This Friday not only showcases the Backyard Bowl but several other big games as well. Owasso and Broken Arrow will hook up as well as Holland Hall at Cascia Hall. You can find more of the schedule with a click here.