Jenks, Union Work to Keep Athletes, Fans Safe Ahead of Backyard Bowl


Friday, September 11th 2020, 6:13 pm
By: Amy Slanchik


JENKS, Okla. -

The crowds won't be as loud this year, but even a global pandemic won't stop the Jenks and Union football rivalry.  

"We're excited. It's a special week,” Union Public Schools Head Athletic Trainer Dan Newman said.  

Athletes will battle out the Backyard Bowl on Jenks' home turf for the first time in more than 20 years.   

"I think this is the first time that we've hosted Union on our home field since 1998,” Jenks Public Schools spokesperson Rob Loeber said.  

Loeber said seating at Allan Trimble Stadium will be limited to about 30% or 35% and masks are required for fans.  

"It's just like coming to school. We want to try to take as many precautions as we can to mitigate the risk and stop the spread,” he said.  

At Union, Newman said coaches and students have been doing everything they can to stop the spread, too.  

Almost three weeks into the school year, the district said five student athletes have tested positive for COVID-19. 

That prompted about 50 students who play on the football and volleyball teams, cheer and cross-country to quarantine because of close contact.   

The district said most quarantine cases have been from the Union Freshman Academy and the High School. 

Newman's message to everyone at tonight's game:  

"We just ask that you know, you follow those guidelines whether you like them or not. This is about our student athletes’ safety and our patrons' safety,” he said.  

While Jenks does not release numbers specific to student athletes, it said there are currently seven students in the district with the virus.