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The Jenks-Union Rivalry Moves To The Ice

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Jenks and Union players on the ice. Jenks and Union players on the ice.
Jenks and Union players on the ice. Jenks and Union players on the ice.
Jenks and Union players on the ice. Jenks and Union players on the ice.
JENKS, Oklahoma -

The Jenks-Union rivalry has dominated high school football for decades in eastern Oklahoma.  The two schools still can't seem to get enough of each other, including ice hockey. 

They'll meet Saturday and Sunday for a big midseason tournament.

Tulsa is the only destination in the state for high school ice hockey, and what would a Green Country high school showdown of any type be without the Trojans and Redskins squaring off? 

Union vs. Jenks: it is a rivalry loaded with tradition. Since 1996, no other schools have been high school champs in 6A football. 

The rivalry is also been played out on another field, an ice arena. 

"It's not just Jenks football or Jenks basketball.  There's also a hockey team and there's some competitiveness through the hockey team as well," said Ganon McMains, Jenks senior. 

This version of the rivalry has all the familiar elements.  For the Trojans, Maroon jerseys with the signature white block letters.  And for the Redskins, the Red and Black "U," of course.  The league is called the Tulsa Youth Hockey Association, or TYHA, and it includes Broken Arrow and a Tulsa Schools team, too. 

But the players say the Jenks-Union game is the main attraction. 

"It's usually Union and Jenks in the finals every year," said Renner Willman, Jenks student. 

"Big hits; lots of goals," said Pedro Nevarez, Union sophomore. 

"We're always trying to outplay them and win, especially when we have a bunch of fans here watching," said Jeff Wilson, Jenks senior. 

And the players come from all different backgrounds. Aaron Bell plays football for Owasso, but was drafted by Union's hockey team.   

"There's not an Owasso hockey team, so they kind of throw us into whatever has the least amount of players," said Aaron Bell. 

Mason O'Brien was picked up by the Jenks Trojans, and he goes to Owasso too. 

Jeff Wilson was born in California and says he got into hockey after going to Oilers games when he was younger. 

Coleby Evans' story may take the cake. He not only plays football for Union, but his grandmother built the rink he plays on at the Oilers Ice Center. 

"That's how I actually got into hockey.  I started walking on skates before I could actually walk," said Coleby Evans. 

And those self-described Jenks and Union lifers really know what this rivalry is all about.

"The rivalry's still there.  You don't want to lose to Union," said Zane Johnson. 

"There's definitely some stuff going on around the two teams.  A lot of trash talk," said Trevor Eckert. 

They hope, someday, hockey will be an official high school sport in Oklahoma, and who knows, maybe they'll be lifting a golden puck. 

And a reminder, TYHA's big midseason tournament is this weekend. The GTR Cup faces off at 3 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday.  Cost is $12 will get you a ticket to the High School games and the Oilers games those nights. 

Get your advance tickets at eteamz.com/THSH.

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