By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Laurel to the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association for trying to bring some more parity to Class 6A football.
But legislating parity in high school sports almost can be an impossible task.
Until there’s a West Union or a South Jenks, Union and Jenks will dominate 6A. A large student base and lots of money are hard to beat.
But it will be interesting to see in 20 years if Union or Jenks are still dominating big school football. You don’t know who will be in 6A then.
Demographics can change in a hurry as far as school districts go.
Remember Enid, at one time, was considered the Jenks and Union in 6A (then 3A).
This was when 6A consisted primarily of the Oklahoma City and Tulsa public schools. At one point, the Tulsa schools didn’t participate in the playoffs.
The Plainsmen won state championships in 1964,1965 and 1966.
EHS was miles ahead of the Oklahoma City schools in integration. Not to mention size of coaching staffs. The Plainsmen, no doubt, benefited from having crowds of up to 10,000 fans at home.
The first thing I noticed when I came to Enid in 1978 and saw the facilities was how much better they had it than John Marshall, which had one office for all the coaches.
Enid had a strong identification with its high school as compared to Oklahoma City, where fans’ identification with the school usually ended when their kids graduated. Two radio stations, as they do now, carried the games.
Remember, there was no football at Chisholm (then North Enid-Carrier), Pioneer or Waukomis. Oklahoma Bible Academy was still in Meno.
There was still the Champlin oil refinery which helped bring in some blue-chip athletes.
And there were athletes. Enid, the summer before winning its third state title, was third in the American Legion World Series.
Take a look at developing players. Enid had three junior highs with teams in the seventh, eighth and ninth grades. John Marshall (my alma mater), for instance, had one combined eighth- and ninth- grade team with one coach.
Coach Don McDonald was carried off the field when John Marshall beat the Plainsmen 52-20 in 1969. It was proclaimed over the PA this was the first time John Marshall had ever beaten Enid. The booster club took the team out for hamburgers afterward.
Take the 1950s — Capitol Hill won back-to-back state championships in 1957 and 1958. Yet, just a few years later, the Redskins would have back-to-back-to-back 0-10 seasons. I had a friend go there and the Redskins never won a game in her three years there.
Putnam City and Putnam City West played in a 21-14 overtime thriller for the 1977 championship. Putnam West would win the state title in 1981, but the Patriots are one of the have-nots now.
Putnam City used to be a magnet for transfers coming into the Oklahoma City area (especially when busing started). No more.
The school’s demographics are totally different from 1972 when the Pirates produced three future major leaguers — Alvan Adams, basketball; Bob Shirley, baseball; and Steve Largent, football.
Midwest City, to its credit, has been a consistent winner through the decades. Having Tinker in its backyard doesn’t hurt, but the Bombers have always had a strong commitment to football. Think where they would be if there was no Carl Albert, which won yet another 5A football championship.
Lawton, with Fort Sill, will have athletes. Of course, those are divided up among three schools. Muskogee has been up and down. Two generations ago, the Roughers were almost a farm team for Bud Wilkinson at OU (Burris brothers, Eddie Crowder, Max Boydston, Joe Rector, etc.).
Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.