Written by Michael Florek
Texas-Oklahoma rivalry extends to high school level with big Saturday doubleheader
Saturday’s doubleheader at Pennington Field will see DeSoto and Euless Trinity play out-of-state teams. But these aren’t ordinary out-of-state schools.
Jenks and Tulsa Union come from Oklahoma. For some, the Red River Rivalry between the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma, which has been played 106 times, will have a small continuation Saturday.
“You know how Texas and Oklahoma go way back,” Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver said. “There might be a little bit more interest, particularly up here in North Texas. We’re not that far away from the border.
“We’re representing Texas. Let’s go out and say it. We don’t need any more of that pressure on ourselves, but it is what it is.”
The unfamiliarity between the schools may prevent that rivalry atmosphere, according to Jenks coach Alan Trimble, but all coaches agree. State pride remains at stake.
Both Lineweaver and DeSoto coach Claude Mathis said they’ll be rooting for each other, despite the two squaring off next weekend.
The same is true for the Oklahoma schools, which are perennial powers and bitter rivals. They often meet in the later rounds of the playoffs and just played each other last week, with Union scoring late to win, 14-7.
“It may be hard pressed for some of our fans to [cheer for each other], but I would fully expect Jenks fans and Union fans to be together on this,” Union coach Kirk Fridrich said.
DeSoto and Jenks play first, at 4 p.m. Trimble said he hadn’t “seen as talented a team on film in a while as DeSoto.” On the other side, Mathis said he was impressed with the Trojans’ physicality.
Trinity and Union will follow at 8 p.m. Trinity, which as of Thursday didn’t know whether injured quarterback Matt Hawkins would play, will try to recover from a 31-24 overtime loss to Bellevue (Wash.) by facing the four-time defending Oklahoma 6A state champion.
Three teams know very little about their opponents. DeSoto is the outlier. Three coaches hail from Oklahoma. Linebackers coach Brian Stansberry graduated from Union. He has never beaten Jenks.
While a win will finally score Stansberry rivalry points, it would also be a victory for Texas football’s reputation as a whole, according to Mathis.
“It’s just a respect factor,” Mathis said. “You never want to lose to another out-of-state team, because your bragging rights are gone.”
Tale of the tape
Euless Trinity: Three-time state champion, with titles in 2005, 2007 and 2009
DeSoto: Never won state title, but has made playoffs 16 years in a row
Jenks: Twelve-time state champion
Tulsa Union: Eight-time state champion.
Together, Union and Jenks have combined to win Oklahoma state championships each of the last 16 years.