It’s not often a highly anticipated sporting event lives up to the hype. That wasn’t the case when Jenks knocked off Bixby, 38-35, last week in a nationally televised high school football game that snapped the Spartans’ 58-game winning streak.
The bleachers were packed and fans wrapped all the way around Bixby’s Lee Snider Stadium, making it one of the most sought-after tickets of the season. They got their money’s worth, as the game featured many outstanding plays and wasn’t decided until the final seconds.
“It was very loud and an awesome atmosphere,” said Jenks head coach Keith Riggs on his weekly coaches show. “It had a playoff feel about it. The national exposure of ESPN2 just added to all of that.”
It’s not the first time Jenks has snapped an opponent’s long winning streak. The Trojans also snapped Union’s school-record 26-game winning streak in 2003 and Owasso’s school-record 24-game streak in 2020.
“I’m just so proud of our kids,” replied Riggs. “Not many people outside of Jenks gave us much of a chance. Bixby is an outstanding football team, but our guys came ready to play.”
The Trojans received excellent performances from senior running back Jaiden Carroll and senior quarterback Ike Owens. Carroll rushed for 180 yards and a touchdown. He earned 143 of those yards on two third-quarter carries, including an 80-yard scoring run on the first play of the second half. Owens was 7 of 10 passing for 133 yards and a touchdown and added 175 rushing yards and two more scores.
“We had a bunch of big runs by Ike,” stated Riggs. “We fit a few more quarterback runs into our gameplan this week. In addition to our offensive line, our running backs did a great job blocking for Ike on those.”
“The running game was just outstanding,” added Riggs. “They just got better and better as the game went on as well, which against a team of that caliber is even more impressive.”
Jenks’ offensive line, decimated by injuries early in the season, played its best game of the season by far. The Trojans rushed for 357 yards, largely in part to the play of the guys up front.
“We’ve had, just out of necessity with injuries, to move guys around,” Riggs said. “It’s maybe taken us a little longer to really gel up front. The last two games, those guys have done a great job.”
Bixby didn’t go down without a fight, however. As expected, the four-time defending 6A-II champions made a furious comeback in the fourth quarter. The Spartans cut the Jenks lead to three points in the final minutes, but the Trojans were able to fall on a pair of onside kick attempts to secure the victory.
“They executed so well,” said Riggs of his team. “There were so many plays that could have easily gone the other way and changed how the game went. I’m really proud of our guys. It’s a great step forward for us as we head into the playoffs.”
The two teams could potentially get a rematch later this month in the 6A-I semifinals. Jenks needs to beat Edmond North and Mustang, while Bixby must defeat the Edmond Memorial-Enid winner in order to set up another meeting.
If it comes to fruition, a Jenks-Bixby rematch would take place Thanksgiving weekend on a neutral field.