By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – On a chilly December night 20 years ago, Yukon and Jenks met for the first time on the football field.
That game was for “all the marbles,” the class 6A state championship.
Yukon and Jenks will “revisit” that meeting tonight as the Millers travel to Jenks to face the Trojans in a 7 p.m. kickoff. And, although, this game may not have a trophy on the line, it does have some important implications for the Millers.
It will be the first time that both teams have been ranked in the top 10 when meeting on the gridiron. The Millers, 4-3 overall, are 2-1 in district play and ranked No. 7. YHS will play a Jenks team that may not have their typical record for this time of the season, 3-4, but the No. 4 ranked Trojans have been on a roll since that 0-4 start.
This will be the sixth meeting between the teams and the first five have all been Jenks. The teams have met three times in the regular season, once in the first round of the playoffs (a 44-6 win in 2009), and in the state championship game (a 56-8 Jenks win).
The Trojans won the meeting between the teams last year 55-13. Jenks had a bye week this past week and beat Edmond Memorial 52-7 the week before. YHS beat the Bulldogs 42-15 last Friday to win their second district game.
The Millers, after playing four home games in a row, will go on the road for only the third time this season.
“We were hoping the reports that Jenks was down were true, but they are not,” Miller head coach Jeremy Reed said. “The early season review on them was that they were not Jenks, they werent’ very good, but I knew that wasn’t going to be the case.
“Defensively, the first that that I see is they look really fast as a unit,” he said. “There is a lot of team speed on defense, they are physical when they get there and they are very disciplined. They are a typical Jenks team, they are going to play with great technique, great discipline and they fit well. But, the thing I see is team speed.
“Offensively, the quarterback throws the ball well, moves well when he needs to and they like to throw it. They have a receiver that may be the best we have seen all season. Jenks does a great job in the passing game. Their running game has been good. They just play with great technique and don’t beat themselves.”
Ian Corwin started for the Jenks as a sophomore last year at quarterback and had a big game against the Millers. He has three targets in Kavion Lewis, D.J. Waggoner and Leondre Woods that can all catch the ball.
Jacob Shelley is more of a power runner in the running game and Tristan Quillen and Jacob Hernandez gives the offense quickness and speed.
Hunter Spankowski (6-2, 265) and Steven Krager (6-1, 250) will anchor the front line.
The defense is led by linebacker Mitchell Kulkin and defensive end Treyvon Miller. Miller will also drop back as a linebacker.
The Trojans will play several players on both sides of the ball.
“We have talked to the players about my experiences of playing teams we weren’t suppose to be in the game with,” Reed said. “Honestly, the team you are playing is not as big a deal as the belief you have to take into the game. You have to believe you have a chance to win in the fourth quarter. “We want to take this game into the fourth quarter and see what happens,” he said. “We have gotten better in game preparation and play the last two weeks. The players have seen the encouragement of what they do in preparation leads to what they do in a game. I expect them to do much of the same and our kids will play hard.
“The opening quarter will be crucial,” he said. “The Broken Arrow game is the only other east side school we have played and we gave up 28 and played horrible. I just want to see our kids come out in the first quarter and play like we have, not turn the all over, execute and play good defense. That’s all you can ask for and then see where the chips fall after that.”
The Millers should come in with some confidence on both sides of the ball. YHS has put up nearly 100 points in their last two games, have ran the ball well and the defense has not given up a lot.
Perry Olsen leads the team in rushing, running for 866 yards on 119 carries with 12 touchdowns. He has also thrown for 379 yards and three scores.
Parker Kenley has run for 431 yards and four scores, Antonio Washington 421 and Noah Davis 262. The Millers, as a team have run for 2,609 yards in seven games.
“Our offense is very confident going into this game,” Reed said. “Both our offense and defense is confident going into the game. Which is what we have to have, our confidence meter is way up. The coaching staff can dial it back if need be, but that’s one thing they haven’t had here in a long while, that confidence factor.
“We have to concentrate on taking care of business in the first quarter and keep our nose to the grind to get out of that early storm if there is one,” he said. “We have done well at it since the Broken Arrow game. We have learned when we play football offense and defense, we can keep it on the field and have a chance to win. If we do some things out of character, it can get into a situation where it gets into a mess. It is just a matter of us playing our style of football.”