The Jenks soccer team is only a couple of years removed from a state championship, but sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago to boy’s head coach Eric Marshall.
Once again, the Trojans have a roster full of talented players, but there are no longer any holdovers from the 2019 undefeated state title team.
“This year is different for us because we don’t have that,” said Marshall on his current team’s lack of postseason success. “They haven’t been there. They haven’t won it. The hunger is there, though. I see it every day in practice. We’re getting better each and every game.”
“I think the chemistry is the biggest thing that’s led us to the start that we’ve had,” stated Marshall, who’s in his fifth year at Jenks. “Defensively, we’re very sound with our back line, led by Nick Morris, who’s a senior and a captain. The back line pretty much goes through him. Our depth is pretty solid in those positions as well.”
“Offensively, we don’t have one player that’s scoring all the goals. It’s kind of a mix. That is key for us. We have six different guys that can score goals. This team is well put together.”
The early-season 2-0 win over Broken Arrow helped avenge last season’s first-round playoff loss to the Tigers. It was a rare, early postseason exit for the Trojans and made them hungry for success this season.
“We mentioned it, but it was not our go-to as far as our motivation for that game,” remarked Marshall. “Last season’s loss left a bit of a bitter taste because it was in the state playoffs, but we stuck to our game plan, got some goals and played good defense.”
After a match with Owasso and a tournament at Deer Creek, the Trojans will return home to battle traditional 5A power Bishop Kelley in an excellent non-district showdown. The Comets have won four straight 5A titles. Last year, they waltzed through the playoffs without giving up a single goal, outscoring their opponents, 15-0.
“We won’t overlook them,” said Marshall matter-of-factly. “We know it will always be a battle because of the schools that are involved. It’ll be a battle, but I’m accepting of it, and I think the players will as well.”
If the Trojans can take care of business for the remainder of their non-district schedule, they’ll be well prepared to have success in district play.
“Last year, we kind of failed in that aspect and that led us to a difficult ranking in the playoffs,” admitted Marshall. “We don’t want that to happen again. Our district rounds are next month and we’re going to be steadfast and compete. We still have to take care of this month and the games we have in hand.”
“My hope as a coach is that we’re going to win all of those games and be set up for a good district round,” added Marshall. “This is our month to build. Hopefully, next month will be our strong month, and we’ll take care of what we need to do.”
The highly anticipated Jenks-Bishop Kelley soccer match will take place Thursday, March 31st at Jenks. YurView will televise this Ford Game of the Week live, with the girls match starting at 6:00 P.M., followed by the boys at 8:00 P.M on Cox’s YurView channel 3. The matches will also be streamed online.