By Andrew Topps, NewsOn6.com
TULSA, OK -- Top-ranked Union will be in the national spotlight once again as one of the best rivalries in the country takes center stage. The Redskins take on second-rated arch-rival Jenks in the Backyard Bowl at Chapman Stadium on the University of Tulsa's University campus Friday.
The Redskins have beaten the Trojans in the last two Backyard Bowl's, both of which were decided in overtime. Union has downed Jenks in three of the last four meetings including the playoffs. Union coach Kirk Fridrich knows these teams get together; it is more than just another game.
"We get the city of Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma is represented by one of the greatest rivalries in the country," Fridrich said. "Everyone across the country wants to look and see how this game turns out. For us that brings great exposure to our schools as well as Oklahoma football."
Jenks is coming off a 47-6 victory over Bixby in week 1. The Redskins earned a big win in their opener as well downing then third-ranked Broken Arrow 17-6. Union quarterback Chase Boyce connected on all but three of his passes, however, coach Fridrich is expecting a tougher challenge this week.
"Defensively they are very athletic and relentless in their pursuit," Fridrich said. "They're able to create a lot of pressure with their pass rushing. The secondary is a hitting defense. Maybe not as big as Broken Arrow was but they definitely are faster and pursue the ball with great intensity."
All eyes will be on the Trojans offense after hanging nearly half a hundred against the Spartans. Quarterback Kevin Lamb leads the potent attack but has plenty of support with a pair of running backs that combined for more than 1,300 yards last season. The Redskins might have to pick their poison in order to slow down Jenks explosive unit.
"The quarterback is the key to what they're doing," coach Fridrich said. "They've got a host of running backs similar to us. Their offensive line is tremendous. Their technique and the way they work as a unit makes it tough on any defense."
Even though this is an arch-rivalry game, and these two teams have met in the championship game the last two years, coach Fridrich is adamant that this contest is not a season maker or breaker.
"It's just week two, it's not a district game it's not a playoff game, but it has that type of atmosphere and gives the coaches a chance to see how kids are going to respond," Fridrich said. "It brings the best out of both teams, I think we do that to them as well and that's what makes it fun. You definitely want to win but the focus isn't about trying to kill somebody. It's more a challenge of can you beat a solid team."
If history is any indication, we will see part two of the challenge sometime in November.
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