October 22, 2010

Does outlook in Oklahoma remain the same?

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Dallas Jackson is the Senior Analyst for RivalsHigh. Email him your question, comment or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Tulsa (Okla.) Union had been rolling along since losing big to arch-rival Jenks (Okla.) High earlier this season.

Another state final matchup between the teams that are traditionally No. 1 and 2 in the state appeared to be a foregone conclusion.

Wednesday night, that may have changed.

Union showed it's a proud program that can never be counted out when it staged a dramatic come-from-behind 36-35 victory over Bartlesville.

But is Union still the No. 2 team in the state?

"This win shows the heart of our football team," Union coach Kirk Fridrich told the Tulsa World after the team won on a 41-yard field goal by Aaron Votruba with 1:26 remaining in the game.

"What an outstanding football team Bartlesville has."

Just how outstanding Union is - isn't clear. And if it isn't the No. 2 team in the state, than what school is?

Jenks, No. 41 in the RivalsHigh Top 100, clearly is the undisputed No. 1 this year. It showed why again Thursday, pummeling Moore (Okla.) Southmoore, 70-21, after a slow start.

The school - which handedly defeated Union, 33-7 earlier this season - trailed 7-0. And was up just 21-14 when Alex Ross returned a kickoff 95 yards for his third touchdown of the first quarter.

Quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen took over from there. He went 17-for-22 for 214 yards and four touchdowns, including three in the second half.

Jenks coach Allan Trimble was glad to see his team got a little scare before sending Southmoore on its way.

"It's awesome to have some adversity and Southmoore came out and played tough," Trimble told the Tulsa World.

Union, No. 63 in the RivalsHigh rankings, got more than a scare. It trailed 21-6 at the half and 28-6 in the third quarter before beginning its comeback - one that appeared was going to fall short at times.

After pulling to 28-26 with 9:06 left in the fourth quarter, Union went for two but didn't get it.

Bartlesville then increased its lead to 35-26 when Kirby Shoenthaler connected with Trevor Moll on an 80-yard TD pass with 6:17 remaining.

Union, however, didn't quit. Dare we say it showed the heart of a champion.

It pulled to 35-33 when sophomore quarterback Hunter Atyia (22-for-35 for 300 yards and three TDs) hooked up with Stephon Weaver on a TD pass for the third time with 3:41 left.

Bartlesville recovered the onside kick but couldn't run out the clock. Instead, it went for it on a fourth-down play, only to have Union's Christian Hood return an interception 61 yards to the Bartlesville 29 to set up the winning field goal.

Union will make the playoffs - and may very well get another shot at Jenks in the Class 6A final, a title game the teams traditionally seem to play.

There may be no other alternatives.

Union already has dismantled the state's No. 3 team, defeating Broken Arrow (Okla.) High, 54-28, earlier this season. And the state's No. 4 (Midwest City) and No. 5 teams (Tulsa's Booker T. Washington) don't appear to be in the same class.

Perhaps the question should be: How big is the gap between No. 1 and No. 2.

You may need to wait until the state playoffs to answer that question. Call it an Oklahoma tradition.



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