Pride on the line in Jenks - Union game tonight at Skelley Stadium

Thursday, September 14th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tens of thousands of fans crammed into one of Oklahoma's largest stadiums. Pep bands. Painted faces. Pandemonium.

Sounds like a late-season college game, but around Tulsa it's bigger than that.

It's the Thursday night Class 6A matchup between Jenks and nearby Tulsa Union --Oklahoma's answer to Texas high school football.

Union is ranked No. 2 in Class 6A and has beaten Jenks in the teams' last two regular-season meetings. A year ago, it was a 27-24 overtime win that handed Jenks its only loss of the 1999 season. The Redskins feature senior wide receiver Jerome Janet, considered by many to be the most exciting player in Class 6A, as well as quarterback Tyler Gooch, who passed for 1,803 yards last season. Union is coming off a 25-14 win over then-No. 8 Broken Arrow.

But about Jenks. They're the four-time Class 6A champion and picked as the favorite to win it all again. Behind running backs Bobby Klinck and Kejuan Jones _ both 1,000-yard rushers last season - the Trojans beat Union in the past two Class 6A championship games. Last week, Jones ran for 163 yards and 3 TDs in a 42-7 pasting of Fort Smith Northside, the No. 1 team in Arkansas' Class 5A.

But Union coach Bill Blankenship said past records are aside as his players prepare for Thursday's game at the University of Tulsa's Skelly Stadium.

``They love the hype and all the energy that surrounds it. I think it's something that's bigger than life here in this part of the state,'' Blankenship said. ``But the serious stuff's after.''

That ``serious stuff'' would be teams' upcoming district schedules, which will decide the teams getting into the Class 6A playoffs. Because Jenks and Union are in separate Class 6A districts, their next potential meeting could be in the playoffs. But that's not to say Thursday's game isn't important, Blankenship said.

``It has no affect on the playoffs or the state championship, but it's huge in finding out where we stack up at this point in the season,'' he said.