Just like recent summer passing leagues the Broken Arrow Tigers entered the month-long-plus 7-on-7 season without a returning starter at quarterback. Along with that, the defending Class 6A State Champions also need to fill a couple of receiver spots, both outside linebacker positions and one cornerback spot.
“Seven-on-Seven is a great tool for evaluating your kids,” said BA head varsity football coach David Alexander. “It’s competition. You’re going against other really good football programs. You’re going to tournaments and trying to win those tournaments. You can really tell some things about kids individually.
“You put a lot on their plates and a lot of competition on them when the clocks running to see how they react. Hopefully, you’ll have someone step up and win a job.”
It appears junior Jake Raines has grabbed the reins on the 2019 starting quarterback position.
“Jake Raines stepped up and has taken the number one spot,” Alexander said. “He had a fantastic tournament in Springdale (Ark.). We won a ton of games. He’s really grown as a leader. He’s put in more work than anybody else at that position. He’s staying late and doing extra things. He’s doing everything a coach wants to see from a young man.”
Just behind Raines is fellow-junior Seth Dodd, who is “a sprained big toe away from having to go in and win a football game,” Alexander said. The coach added that he expects Dodd will do the things necessary to be ready when called upon.
Broken Arrow wasn’t alone in auditioning starting quarterbacks for the 2019 season in the local Monday night summer league. The three other teams – Owasso, Jenks and Union – in the league also will start the season with a new signal caller.
“There’s an arms race to see who can get their team ready fastest to have them ready for district play,” Alexander said. “In a way, it’s like that at every position, but it’s amplified at the quarterback position because everybody is looking at it.”
Each 7-on-7 game was a chance for Alexander to assess his entourage of skill position players and not just the quarterbacks. At receiver, the lone returning starter is Isaiah Keller, the team’s second-leading wideout a year ago. Keller had an estimated 65 catches in the two-day Springdale tournament last weekend.
While Keller will most likely be the top target this fall, senior Tohrion Dillard “has earned himself a starting spot. He had a real good summer,” Alexander said.
“At the other receiver spot we’re going to have a little competition,” the coach said. “Some of that is going to fall with who is going to win that one corner spot. We had several guys do a really good job out there."
Those names include:
Senior Ty Rozell: “He had a really good second day in Springdale.”
Sophomore Maurion Horn: “He could be corner or receiver. He has tremendous ball skills.”
Junior Keyon Barnett: “It’s a new position for him, but he’s explosive once he gets the ball in his hands.”
In the defensive backfield the Tiger defense is solid at safety with Bryce Mattioda and Myles Slusher returning. The Tulsa World ranks Slusher first in its regional All-World Defensive Backs list while Mattioda comes in at number seven. Each player had three interceptions for the Tigers last season.
In front of those guys, senior middle linebacker Campbell Yeager returns, however, two now-Big 12 linebackers – Zach Marcheselli (TCU) and Gavin Potter (Kansas) – will need to be replaced. Marcheselli’s younger brother Zeno, who actually started a game when Zach was out with an injury, “has a nose ahead of the competition because he played quite a few varsity snaps last year,” Alexander said.
Also in the mix is junior Darryan Moss, who “had the most productive weekend in Springdale of all the linebackers,” Alexander said. “He got his hands on more balls and did more things…he really looks like a difference maker at linebacker. He’s pretty incredible looking when he puts on his gear.”
With the league games being all passes, coach will still be evaluating how the linebackers “fit” the run game. Alexander also mentioned junior Logan Stovall and sophomore Jadahain Floyd-Wright as guys who will battle for time at linebacker as well.
“It was a very good seven-on-seven season, especially offensively, with all the new guys we are going to start,” Alexander said. “When you look out there like the other night when the offense is on the field, there’s only one guy who has played in a varsity game, and that’s Keller, so a lot of new faces in the skilled positions. But I’m really proud of what they have done.”
Renew your Class 6A defending state champion Broken Arrow Tigers football season tickets beginning July 15 for the 2019 season.
Fans who had 2018 season tickets may renew their season tickets the weeks of July 15 and July 22, Monday through Thursday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase in the Broken Arrow Athletic Department offices on the second floor of the Varsity Training Center (directly south of Memorial Stadium on County Line Road). Tickets may be purchased with cash, check, or credit card (Discover, MasterCard, or Visa). Please note: all credit card purchases will have a three percent convenience fee per transaction. Parking passes are limited and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Season ticket upgrades or the adding additional seats, begins the week of July 29 for those fans who renewed their season tickets.
Reserved season tickets are $50 for five home games. Season ticket holders may purchase an all-sport pass for $100. An adult all-sport pass that includes general admission seating for football is $90.
Reserved stadium parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis for $100.
The 2019 home varsity schedule kicks off Sept. 13 against Owasso. The Tigers host three home games in October: Norman on Oct. 4, Edmond Santa Fe on Oct. 17, and Yukon for Homecoming on Oct. 25. The Tigers play Edmond Memorial at home on Nov. 1. All home games are scheduled for 7 p.m.
Ramon Richardson’s post-high school career is loaded with football accomplishments: a 2000 University of Oklahoma national championship, an Arena League title with the Tulsa Talons and a Red River Bowl victory with the Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen.
His most improbable championship came in another sport, however, as he was captain of Broken Arrow High School’s first and only boys basketball state champion team in 1997.
“Ramon was always a quiet leader for our team,” said teammate and current BA head basketball coach Beau Wallace. “He was the heart and soul of that team. His leadership was shown by how he worked, and he did it with a smile on his face.”
For Richardson, the 48-46 championship over Tulsa Memorial was special for two reasons. First, was just the excitement of winning a state title. Second, Richardson attended Memorial before moving to Broken Arrow the summer of his junior year.
“The unique thing about that is I went to try out for the basketball team at Memorial and the coach wouldn’t let me walk on and play basketball,” Richardson recalled his experience as a sophomore. “He didn’t think I was talented enough. He didn’t even let me try out.”
The Tigers, who finished the year 22-7, came into the state tournament as the No. 8 seed. They upset top-seeded Midwest City in the opener and defeated Sapulpa, a team they had lost to twice in Frontier Valley Conference play, in the semifinals.
“That game was a special game,” Richardson said of the state final. “My teammates felt the tension and anxiousness I had. It felt real good after the game. I told some of the guys from Memorial that ‘I had to beat you. If I was playing for your team you might have won.’
“It’s not easy to win a championship. Everybody has to play their roles.”
Richardson’s role was more than that of a brawny, yet undersized inside player who “had some of the best footwork I’ve seen,” Wallace said. “He was dominant in the post. If the ball hit his hands it was going to be caught.”
Wallace capped his comments with what made Richardson special.
“Ramon is just a winner,” he said.
“Everybody knows that I like to compete,” Richardson said. “I tell everybody that my team will win before your team. I just have confidence in the people I play with, and that I can bring the best out of everybody. That was the thing about high school…we all believed in each other.
The team-reliant mentality, perhaps more than anything else, led to that historic 1997 Class 6A State Championship run at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. That accomplishment along with the OU National Championship have produced two “of my top three special moments in life.”
The third, and most likely number one, came outside the field of competition.
“Becoming a father would definitely be up there,” he said before adding to the list. “All the people I came across on my journey would be in the top three along with the different things I have been blessed to do or be a part of.”
That includes being a Trades Crew Leader for the Lake County, Fla., Parks and Recreation Department, where he oversees the maintenance of county’s extensive hiking trails system. Richardson’s journey, of which athletics was a major part, has allowed him to look back on the personal paths he has forged.
“For me, from where I came from, my life is like a 180 from how I was raised,” he reflects. “Football. Basketball. Everything helps mold you for adversity in life that you don’t notice until you’re going through it.
“The places I’ve been able to travel and the places I’ve been able to see…being the first one in my family to go to college and getting a scholarship, where my parents didn’t have to go into debt just for me to get an education or to grow up to be a man…to get there, you just look back and thank God you’re not where you could have been.”
The 2019 Broken Arrow Athletic Hall of Fame Class will be inducted at Broken Arrow's opening home football game against Owasso on Sept. 13.
Talk with Steve Allen about his induction into his 2019 Broken Arrow Athletic Hall of Fame and little from the conversation will have to do with him.
Even though the NAIA national champion wrestler, state championship wrestling coach and current Broken Arrow Public Schools Board of Education president considers his nomination “one of the greatest honors I could have,” he would much rather discuss the people who influenced him most: those individuals who shaped him into the person he is today.
That all started at home. Allen was raised by a young, single mother, who never graduated high school, but earned her GED and worked two jobs while raising her son.
“She taught me about work,” Allen said of his mother, who died last year. “She taught me about discipline and love.
“Things were tough. But she never quit. She never looked for a way out. Never made excuses. It’s just how she raised me. When I got in trouble she held me accountable.”
That accountability nearly ended his wrestling career before he would finish his senior season as a state runner-up or eventually become a college All-American and NAIA National Champion at Missouri Valley College, where, by the way, he was inducted into that school’s hall of fame in 2009.
Allen, a 1989 BAHS graduate, tells the story this way: “I had a ‘D’ on progress report, so I knew wrestling was over. ‘You tell that coach tomorrow it’s your last day.’” Allen recalls his mother’s words.
He continues: “Coach (Steve) Hill said ‘I’m going home with you.’ She chewed his butt out for an hour and she chewed me out for an hour. I’m walking Coach Hill out to the porch and he goes ‘Allen, please don’t make me have to come back here again, because I don’t want to talk to your mom like that.’ He put a plan together. I studied and got my grade up. She was no nonsense.”
While Hill dare not get crossways with Allen’s mother again, he came away understanding the expectations she had for her son. The former Tiger wrestling coach held the teenage Steve and his other wrestlers to a high standard.
Allen credits Hill and his junior high coach Tom Frohnapfel, a 2015 BA Hall of Fame inductee, with being among his most significant male figures during his teen years.
“If it wasn’t for those two guys who knows where I would be,” Allen said. “They provided the discipline and structure that I needed in my life.
“I owe a lot to Coach Hill. He never gave up on me. I probably gave him a lot of chances to, but he didn’t. He believed in me. When times got difficult he helped me learn what it was all about to face adversity and not make excuses.”
Nor did Allen make excuses for his son, who he watched become a state champion and nationally ranked high school wrestler.
“I’ll never forget his first day when I coached little league novice,” Allen said. “We were warming up. He was running around. A little bitty, chubby-cheeked kid. He comes over and says ‘Dad, I want to quit.’ We were just jogging and practice had not even started. I’m like ‘what? Why do you want to quit?’ ‘I’m getting all wet.’ I said, ‘Son, that’s called sweating. Get to running.’ I vividly remember that day.”
Eventually, Allen’s son matured and staked out his own wrestling journey that led to an individual state championship. The memory of watching his son, Steven, on that February evening in 2015 at the Oklahoma State Fair Grounds Arena far surpassed his own personal wrestling accomplishments.
“It was just amazing,” an emotional father reflected on his son’s accomplishment. “I’m so proud of him as a dad. Doing it for BA is just amazing.”
It was 17 years earlier, that Allen returned to his hometown from Hopkinsville, Ky., where he was head wrestling coach. In 1998 Allen joined the Broken Arrow wrestling staff as an assistant varsity coach with now-BA Athletic Hall of Famer Steve Dunlap. Allen served as head coach in 2002, and led the Tigers to Dual State and Team State tournament titles.
“It couldn’t have happened without Coach Dunlap wanting me and Kyle Wood and Ken Ellett letting (Coach Dunlap) have the (assistant) spot,” Allen said. “It was awesome. Some of the greatest coaching experiences of my life.”
The 2019 Broken Arrow Athletic Hall of Fame Class will be inducted at Broken Arrow's opening home football game against Owasso on Sept. 13.
There was measurable anxiety in Kassie Embrey’s voice as she talked about Broken Arrow’s upcoming girls soccer tryouts.
“The numbers are way bigger than I’ve ever had, but I’m excited,” said the new head coach. “I’ve never heard of tryouts having over 100 people. Never.”
Once she learned tryouts were split sessions with freshmen and sophomores in one group and juniors and seniors in another the tension eased. Her enthusiasm for being a part of Broken Arrow Tiger girls soccer remained at elevated, however.
Embrey’s anticipation for the future what her new team can accomplish is immense, even before she has selected a roster for any of the three – Varsity, JV Black and JV Gold – Broken Arrow High School teams.
“I am excited for a deep bench,” Embrey said just three weeks after being handed the reins of one of the top girls soccer programs in the state and a week before tryouts. “All the good players. Then there are more good players. And you could even go down to JV and there’s more good players.”
And, yes, Embrey knows good players. As well as playing for two-time Big 12 Champions Oklahoma State, she was an assistant coach on Bishop Kelley’s 2017 Class 5A State Championship team and head coach of Tulsa Washington’s back-to-back state title squads.
“I had felt the feeling of winning state as an assistant,” Embrey said. “Winning as a head coach was way better. Then winning again as a head coach was even better.
“A lot of people think if you win one you’re lucky, and if you win two then maybe there was something behind it. I got a few congratulations when we won one. I got a lot more congratulations when we won two.”
One of Embrey’s 2018 congratulations came from the Tulsa World as she was named the All-World Girls Soccer Coach of the Year. She followed that up with receiving the award again this year.
With a step up in class comes a step up in competition. All four of Tulsa Washington’s 2019 losses came to Class 6A schools. The Hornets went 13-4 in this past spring, but just 1-4 against 6A teams.
“I’m excited to see if I can get one at 6A,” Embrey said. “I’m like, ‘that would be really cool if we could do it against all these powerhouses.’”
Returning two top scorers, a two-year starting All-American goalie and a more experienced defense, Embrey could be standing in the midst of Class 6A’s strongest powerhouse of 2020.
Embrey’s familiarity with the players she will be coaching is “because they were friends with my Booker T girls.”
As a TSC (Tulsa Soccer Club) coach, Embrey is well acquainted with Tiger assistant coaches Randy Clingerman and Brit Nigh and former girls head coach Dave Cosby. However, she has not coached any of the Broken Arrow girls in club soccer.
“I’ve heard names, but never personally coached any of them,” Embrey said.
In just a few days the tryout evaluation will be complete. The names of which Embrey has just “heard” will become names on rosters, who at summer’s end, will become faces, personalities and players that the new coach will try to guide to her third straight state title and first in Oklahoma’s “powerhouse” class. If that happens, she will end her first year in Broken Arrow the same way it started – excited.
All Broken Arrow Public Schools athletes are required to have athletic forms filled out online. New forms must be completed each year.
Visit RankOneSport's website to start the online process. Instructions are provided on that website to help complete the athletic forms.
The online forms need to be filled out after tryouts and before the beginning of the new school year.
Physical forms dated after May 1 are also required to be turned in to the coaches for a student to compete in Broken Arrow Public Schools athletics.