Broken Arrow Tigers record-setting running back Noah Cortes was recognized tonight with the 2018 KTUL Ford Award presented to the area’s top high school football player in a ceremony at the KTUL studio.
Cortes scored a school-record 35 touchdowns and rushed for 1,958 yards this season in leading Broken Arrow to its first football state championship. Twice this season – against Norman and Enid - Cortes rushed for six touchdowns in a game. He finished the season with 210 points, also a school record.
Tigers head coach David Alexander called Cortes the “heart and soul” of a team that went 13-0 and defeated Jenks, 28-20, in the OSSAA Class 6A State Football Championship on Nov. 30.
Cortes finished his senior season as the Tigers career rushing leader with 4,444 yards.
The award circuit continues for Cortes this week as he was nominated for the Friday Night Live Player of the Year Award sponsored by Primeaux Mitsubishi and the Bob Hurley Auto Family Athlete of the Year.
Cortes is undecided on where he will play college football.
The Broken Arrow Tigers will celebrate the first football state championship in school history by bringing the trophy to each of the district’s 15 elementary schools as part of a “Gold Ball Tour” starting Tuesday afternoon and running through Thursday.
Head Coach David Alexander and select seniors will visit multiple schools each day so students can meet their favorite Tigers and see the championship trophy up close.
“We know it takes an entire community to win a state title,” Alexander said. “This has been a long time coming, and we can’t wait to share it with everyone who has been cheering us on.”
Coaches and players will also visit classrooms to meet with their “Tiger Pals,” who sent them letters of support during the season.
The tour will visit Spring Creek, Aspen Creek, Wolf Creek, Leisure Park and Vandever on Tuesday; Arrowhead, Rhoades, Lynn Wood and Oak Crest on Wednesday; and Liberty, Highland Park, Timber Ridge, Creekwood, Country Lane Primary and Country Lane Intermediate on Thursday.
BROKEN ARROW FOOTBALL GOLD BALL TOUR SCHEDULE
Tuesday, Dec. 11
Wednesday, Dec. 12
Thursday, Dec. 13
With two meets – the Owasso Invitational Tuesday and at Edmond on Dec. 18 – remaining in the first semester, Broken Arrow head swim coach Casey Beck has cast her vision beyond the immediate future for her Tiger swimmers.
“I’m looking forward to what we can do in February,” Beck said in reference to post season meets.
And why wouldn’t see? Especially after Broken Arrow’s dominating performance in last week’s home meet against Oologah and Tulsa Washington. The Lady Tigers won every individual event and two of three relays. The boys captured five gold medals on their way to their first team victory.
“That meet was incredible, and speaks volumes to the work the kids have put in this year,” Beck said.” Our girls almost swept the entire meet. And our boys don’t get much credit because the team is small, but they beat both teams as well even with two of our best swimmers out.
“We had awesome swims all around.”
Multiple gold medal winners included Serena Barker and Annie and Rachel Kramer. Erica Frescott – 200 IM – and Kate Garner – 100 Fly – also captured individual gold. On the boys side. Hayden Cunningham, Thomas Hodges and Cody Shepard combined to win five individual events.
Beck credits morning and afternoon practice along with weight training for the team’s early season success. But, in order for her swimmers to accomplish what she is “looking forward to” then increased pool between semester is not only crucial, it’s necessary.
“We are gearing up for some monster three-hour practices,” the coach said. “Swimming is notorious for having grueling winter break workouts and our team is no different. This will make a huge impact on how the kids finish the season.”
Broken Arrow High School students in the ArrowVision program are scheduled to work with district staff to produce more than 20 live basketball and wrestling broadcasts during the 2018-2019 BA Tiger sports season.
ArrowVision live event broadcasts can be viewed around the world on ArrowVision.tv, the Broken Arrow Public Schools YouTube channel, @ArrowVision on Twitter or through the BoxCast app on Apple TV and Roku devices.
“Video production is not something that can be completely learned through a textbook,” Director of ArrowVision Greg Spencer said. “Our students can learn far more through hands-on experience with cameras and equipment while under the pressure of a live broadcast than they can in a traditional classroom.”
“We are passionate about learning in Broken Arrow, and the ArrowVision program is just one example how we try to seek new ways to lead and follow our students into the future,” Director of Public Relations Charlie Hannema said. “Our students use the latest technology to gain experience but also serve our community by providing live video to keep Tiger fans connected around the world.”
2018-19 ArrowVision winter broadcast schedule (all games subject to change)
Dec. 11 Girls Basketball vs. Union
Dec. 11 Boys Basketball vs. Union
Dec. 18 Girls Basketball vs. Sapulpa
Dec. 18 Boys Basketball vs. Sapulpa
Jan. 4 Girls Basketball vs. Booker T. Washington
Jan. 4 Boys Basketball vs. Booker T. Washington
Jan. 8 Wrestling at Union
Jan. 15 Wrestling vs. Sand Springs
Jan. 22 Girls Basketball vs. Bartlesville
Jan. 22 Boys Basketball vs. Bartlesville
Jan. 29 Girls Basketball vs. Bixby
Jan. 29 Boys Basketball vs. Bixby
Jan. 31 Wrestling vs. Bixby
Feb. 5 Girls Basketball at Union
Feb. 5 Boys Basketball at Union
Feb. 15 Girls Basketball vs. Jenks
Feb. 15 Boys Basketball vs. Jenks
TBD Basketball Area/Regional Playoffs
After 108 years of Broken Arrow Tiger football what’s an extra two hour wait to win the school’s first Gold Ball?
The thrill in which the Tigers captured that Gold Ball.
The rush players and fans alike shared on the University of Tulsa Chapman Field turf for nearly an hour following the game.
The after party in the indoor facility that lasted until nearly 2 a.m.
Those three things seemed to make the 108-year wait and two-hour delay side notes to the 2018 Broken Arrow Tigers team journey, to what seemed all-season long, inevitable.
It was a Myles Slusher interception in the end zone that put the clamps on a Jenks Trojan comeback effort and ushered in Oklahoma’s Class 6A-I’s latest first-time champion – Broken Arrow 28, Jenks 20.
“I just saw him break down his hips, so I broke down too,” Slusher said while swallowing in the postgame emotion. “It just so happened that I made a play on the ball.”
The Tigers had just held Jenks on downs when, with 4:38 to play, lightning became the story of the night. For the next two hours and nine minutes anyway. Play resumed at 4:38. Then some two minutes of game clock time, and nearly 20-yards of Tiger offense later, the Trojans had the ball back with a chance to send the game to overtime. This year, however, the ghost of three previous state title games would do no haunting. The 129-minute stoppage of play would not be a killjoy for these Tigers.
“It was just in my mind that it was my last five minutes of Broken Arrow football,” said senior lineman DeMeco Roland. “Why not win. Why not win.”
Why not, indeed. In a season where the Tigers had rolled over opponents in games 5 through 11 by an average score of 56-4, games 12 and 13 did not come as easily. And though the score was closer in the 10-7 semifinal win over Owasso, this one seemed to have pushed the 2018 Tigers to a point that brought out a little more resiliency.
“What did I tell you?” Coach David Alexander asked an excited group of Tigers and pretty much every other BAHS student and Tiger fan who came onto the field to celebrate after sticking around for the finale’. “You had to play every 48 minutes and every second of that dang game, and it took it to win it. I am really, really proud of you men. You have been an amazing team to coach.”
Amazing and undefeated, 13-0, team. (Check out complete State Championship game stats)
“You don’t set off the season to be perfect,” Alexander said. “You set off the season to hopefully give yourself a shot to win the last game. We got off on such a good roll and the confidence kept building. We kept getting better and we figured out a way to win this ball game.”
The coaches had this team prepared to win. Even to the point of discussing and planning for the weather delay.
“I was a little tired, because it gets you a little lackadaisical,” senior linebacker Gavin Potter admitted. “But to come out here and be a champion; I’ve waited for that my whole life.”
He also was anticipating a play, like the Slusher’s game-clinching interception, the 16th for the Tiger secondary this season. That’s the third best total in team history.
“It had me pumped,” Potter said of the pick. “I know my secondary is so good. I was waiting all game for my secondary to get one. I knew it was coming.”
Two weeks ago, Aaron “Tricky” Stokes had a momentum-changing interception against Owasso. This time, it was Slusher’s turn.
“There were a lot of bends tonight,” said Travis Hill, BA defensive coordinator. “But we made a lot of good plays when we had to.”
Hilll wasn’t just talking about on the defensive side, pointing out fourth down plays that included a completion to keep a TD drive going in the third quarter. That touchdown, a Quintevin Cherry three-yard run, was a fourth down play. Another key fourth down came on the first possession after the delay. That Noah Cortes one-yard run allowed the Tiger to use up a little more clock.
“It’s a team game and it was fun tonight to see everybody get together and get it done,” Hill said.
It wasn’t all fun and games for the tireless defensive coach.
“Honestly, I was stressing on it,” Hill confessed. “The bottom line is big players make big plays. What a lot of people don’t understand is that it just doesn’t take great athletes to win this, it takes kids with great class, too. And we have some kids with great class.”
And some kids with Broken Arrow’s first football gold ball.
Major college signees Reece Witcraft and and Grace Jarvis head a list of Broken Arrow High School seniors who signed letters of intent to play college athletics on Wednesday, the first day of the fall signing period .
Witcraft, a state champion wrestler as a junior, signed to wrestle at Oklahoma State University. Jarvis, an all-state softball player and the district player of the year, signed with the University of Tulsa.
Other signees include: Annie Kramer, swimming, University of Incarnate Word; Eden Coffman, soccer Northeastern State University; Katie Smith, soccer, Texas A&M; Lindsey Portell, softball, Washburn University; Kiley Hyslope, softball, Pitt (Kans.) State, Blake Gonzalez, wrestling, Oachita Baptist and Manny Duran (actually signed last Friday), baseball, Seminole Junior College. Lady Tiger basketball player Miranda Givens is scheduled to sign with Butler (Kans.) Community College on Monday.
These student-athletes participated in an informal signing event in the Varsity Training Center's Varsity Club on the Broken Arrow High School campus with their parents, other family members and friends.
"All of these students have worked hard to earn the opportunity to play college athletics," said Steve Dunn, Broken Arrow Public Schools Athletic Director. "We need to a take every opportunity we can to share in their success and accomplishments, not only as athletes who excel on the field, but as students who excel in the classroom."
Football players Zach Marcheselli (TCU) and Gavin Potter (Kansas State) are expected to sign letters of intent in December, during the early signing period for football.
The BA Athletic Department will host a signing recognition ceremony for all BA student-athletes who will continue their athletic careers in college on Feb. 6, 2019, the first day of the traditional NCAA football signing period. More than 40 student-athletes are honored annually during the event that is held in the BAHS Indoor Practice Facility in the Varsity Training Center.
Parents of Broken Arrow High School, Freshman Academy and middle school student-athletes may go online to complete necessary forms to assure their child is eligible to begin participation in school athletics.
The completion of such forms as the Emergency Consent Form, Concussion and Head Injury Acknowledgement Form and the Risk/Insurance/Transportation Consent Form is required before a student is eligible to participate in Broken Arrow athletics. Other online forms parents are required to complete include the OSSAA’s Eligibility and Recruiting Forms, the Social Networking Form and the Drug Testing Consent Form.
To begin completion of the forms parents will need to include their child’s first and last names and know their child’s student ID number. An electronic signature of one parent is required.
Student-athletes are also required to have a current physical on file in order to participate in Broken Arrow school-sponsored athletics.
Online completion of the required forms is more convenient for parents and will streamline the process for Broken Arrow athletic department administrators, coaches and trainers. Visit RankOneSport's website to start the online forms process.