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Friday night lights: Tulsa style

Photo by Chandler Branzell

Summer is over and fall has made a glorious return. The return of fall means  the return of football in the great state of Oklahoma.

There is something special about putting on a hoodie and heading out to watch a football game on a perfect fall night.

In a perfect world, ORU students would be able to wake up on Saturdays, tailgate with their friends and head over to the stadium to support the Golden Eagle football team. Unfortunately the world is not a perfect place, but grab that hoodie Woods and “Kork” are here to help.

University of Tulsa vs. Colorado St. 

Division-I college football can be found exactly fourteen minutes from lower lot at the Univeristy of Tulsa.

On Sept. 7, we watched the Golden Hurricanes play Colorado State.

The fun begins on E. 8th St. hours before the game. The streets surrounding the stadium are filled with an army of die-hard fans tailgaiting.

The grills were fired up, the coolers were stuffed and the corn hole games were as intense as the game they preceded.

After taking in kickoff from the sidelines, we headed to the student section to get the student view and experience. These guys and girls were all about their team, and said they’re always up for some cross-town guests.

When the players headed for the locker room at halftime, they set the stage for one of every fan’s favorite pastimes; stadium food.

At University of Tulsa games, you will find reasonable prices on everything they have to offer. From hotdogs and popcorn, to drinks of literally all shapes and sizes. A 52-ounce drink and a couple of footlongs in hand we headed back to the stand for the second half.

The game didn’t disppoint. Tulsa scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback. The crowd braced for a field goal that could potentially win the game for for the Golden Hurricanes.

Thousands grew more anxious as Colorado State called a timeout to “ice” the Tulsa kicker for the third time. As our level of anticipation grew, so too did our level of appreciation that this experience can be had in our own backyard.

As the kick finally left Carl Salazar’s foot the crowd took a collective breath, as a chilling hush of anticipation swept over Chapman Stadium.

Just as the ball split the uprights, that seemingly eternal hush was traded in for a roar of jubilant fans celebrating a win for the home team.

It’s a magical moment that happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma, just as it would have in a national championship game somewhere else.

We could’ve attended a game in the middle of a torrential downpour, and still left with a great story to tell. The game could’ve been a blowout with few plays that we’d remember the next day, and we could still leave with a memory we’d always share. That’s what sports, and nights spent as fans of football, is all about.

This weekend is another chance to experience a night like this, and it’s waiting just 14 short minutes away.

Photo by Austin St. John
Photo by Austin St. John

Jenks High School vs. Union High School

If you’ve ever seen the show Friday Night Lights you know that high school football can be a towns’ very existence. While Tulsa is no Dillon, some of the country’s best high school football is played here.

Tulsa is home to the top two high school teams in the state; Jenks and Union High Schools.

The Backyard Bowl, as the locals call it, is one of the premier high school football rivalries in the entire country.

The teams compete once in the regular season, and then in the State Championship. Each year the build up and excitement reaches new levels, and this years’ matchup between the two powerhouses did not disappoint.

The game was played at University of Tulsa’s Chapman Stadium due to its overwhelming popularity.

The atmosphere was electric as 19,000 fans poured in to see the best in Oklahoma high school football  write the next chapter in their historic rivalry.

University of Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops and Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops were among the many high profile attendees., as scouts clamored over Steven Parker and several of his teammates.

The game was full of momentum swings. Union appeared to have the game in hand, but as Coach Lee Corso says, “Not so fast my friend”.

Jenks wide reciever Dylan Harding scored a 66-yard game-winning touchdown on a pass from Cooper Nunley and, you guessed it, the crowd went absolutely crazy. It was easily one of the best football games we have ever seen.

As another weekend arrives here’s a great lineup of games you can attend. Don’t let another weekend pass you by without making some memories of your own.

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