Timber Ridge Elementary principal Tiffany Green told teachers they would be visited by “elves” on Thursday.
Those “elves” turned out to be dozens of BA football players and coaches bearing board games and books for classrooms in Broken Arrow’s newest elementary school that opened this fall.
“We were thrilled when Coach (David) Alexander contacted us about wanting to find a way that they could reach out to some of our students,” Green said. “I wanted to find a way that could reach the most students possible, so players ‘adopted’ a classroom and purchased board games for the students to play during center time or inside recess.”
Players and coaches delivered the “surprises” – as Green was able to keep her secret until the team’s arrival – to the teacher and students of each “adopted” class.
The opportunity to meet football players, actual larger than life Santa’s helpers, was inspiring to the young recipients.
Alexander has organized a toy drive each Christmas season for the Tigers, but this is the first time the team has donated toys to a school. He credits high school physical education teacher Mary Fowler with the idea for this year’s gift-giving experience.
“Mrs. Green said it best when she thanked the players for their inspiration and display of character,” the coach said. “As coaches, of course we want to coach our players up to be the best high school football players they can be, but more importantly we want them to become young men who treat people with respect, lead by example and develop a spirit of giving and giving back.”
Timber Ridge’s principal declared this charitable play a winning call that was executed perfectly by all Tigers involved.
“We are so grateful of this partnership and the generosity of the players and coaches,” Green said
A game of scoring runs ended in a flurry as Broken Arrow got a traditional three-point play from Camryn Dennis to push a one-point lead to 48-44 with 12 seconds to play. After a Westmoore bucket cut the lead to two, the Tigers Caleb Huffman hit the front end of a one-and-one with with 2.24 seconds on the clock. He missed the second free throw and the Jaguars Will Graham's three-quarter court heave hit high on the backboard as the Tigers took a 49-46 inaugural BA Classic Championship victory Saturday night in Tiger Field House
Earlier on Saturday, BA girls lost to Webb City, 34-25, in the consolation finals.
The Tigers Josh Robinson was named the BA Classic MVP. Huffman was named to the all-tournament team along with Graham and Westmoore teammate Kenny Spring. Tulsa Central's Jaylen Thomas and Trey Carolina of Putnam City were also named all-tournament.
On the girls side, Classic MVP Jena Williams led Bartlesville to a championship over Moore. Making the girls all-tournament team were Avery Allen, Bartlesville; Gabby Guzman and Aailyah Moore, Moore; Paige Lewis, OKC Storm; and Cami Roy, Webb City (Mo.)
The BA Classic was presented by State Farm Agents Blackie Gibson and Mark Welty. Welty presented the championship, runner-up and all-tournament team awards following each championship game.
Mossop was visited Wednesday by Troy Calhoun, who has been Air Force's head coach for 11 seasons.
"I had offers from Missouri State, Navy, Army, Lindenwood, Augustana, Pitt State, NSU, Oklahoma Baptist," Mossop told Tulsa World sports writer Mike Brown. "I want to study electrical engineering and work at Tinker Air Force base after I graduate from the academy.
"Coach Calhoun has a genuine love for the players past football. He wants all of us to succeed and be successful in life because someday football will end and you will need to provide for your family, and he really has done a good job with the team because they have had very good seasons there. He stays at Air Force because he loves it. He has many accolades and is giving back to his alma mater by being the head football coach there."
Mossop was named District Co-Defensive Back of the Year along with teammate Damian Everette.
Mossop plans to sign a letter of content with Air Force on Dec. 20, the new NCAA early signing day for football.
Broken Arrow Lady Tiger softball all-stater Mary Collins is one of five high school softball players who will receive the Michelle Smith Award at the Warren Spahn Award Gala in Oklahoma City on Jan. 29, 2018.
The award is presented annually to the state’s top high school softball players and coaches based on athletic and scholastic achievement. It is the softball equivalent of baseball’s Ferguson Jenkins award, which also will be presented that evening.
“Mary was so important to our team this year because of the number of ways she helped the team,” said Randall King, Lady Tiger softball coach. “Not only was she unbelievable at the plate with 92 RBIs, but she was 18-3 in the circle.
“She is so gifted with natural ability, but you never see her going half speed. Everything she does is full speed.”
Statistically, Collins, led the Lady Tigers in most major offensive categories: Batting Average (.541), Slugging Percentage (1.015), On-Base plus Slugging (1.573), Hits (73), Home Runs (10), Doubles (14), Triples (10), and RBIs (92). As a pitcher, she finished the season 18-3 with a 2.40 ERA. She recorded 73 strikeouts to only 12 walks.
Collins, the Class 6A-Distric 4 Player of the Year, has signed a letter of intent to play softball at Oklahoma State University.
Smith, who played collegiately at OSU, is a double Olympic Softball Gold Medalist with the U.S. National Team, having played in the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics. In 2006, she was inducted into the ASA Softball Hall of Fame. She has also played professionally in the Japanese Professional Softball League since 1992. She is a 7-Time Japanese Pro League Champion & MVP. See also serves as softball analyst for ESPN.
The award ceremony includes recognizing the Warren Spahn Award winner. Chicago Cubs left-hander Jon Lester was 2017 award recipient. The Spahn Award is named after Oklahoman and Hall of Famer Warren Spahn, who holds the MLB record of 363 wins as a left-handed pitcher.
Thirteen Broken Arrow Tigers were named to the 2017 Class 6A-1 All-District 2 Football Team, highlighted by Derrick Shaw being selected Defensive Player of the Year.
Three other Tiger defensive players earned special honors. Devin Clayton was named Defensive Lineman of the Year and Damian Everette and Gary Mossop were named Co-Defensive Backs of the Year.
Other Tigers named to the All-District team include running back Noah Cortes; linebackers Austin Garrison, Zach Marcheselli and Peyton Ross; offensive tackle Trase Jeffries; tight end Izaiah Jackson; receivers Matt Kaiser and Cade Nagy; and quarterback Lafeyette Wright.
A disruptive force along the defensive line, Shaw led the team with six sacks. He also registered 76 tackles and had a fumble recovery. Clayton was the counterpart to Shaw along the line, forcing match-up problems for opposing offenses. Clayton had 40 tackles and three sacks.
Everette intercepted a team-high six passes this season, including a school-record three in one game. He also had 51 tackles and a fumble recovery. Mossop picked off two passes this year and was second on the team in tackles with 78.
Broken Arrow's 2017 statistical leaders included Cortes, who rushed for 1,580 yards, the third best season total in school history. Wright completed 133 of 235 passes for 1,940 yards, 19 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Defensively, Marcheselli led the team with 106 tackles.
The 2017 Tigers will celebrate their state semifinal season with the annual football banquet on December 11 at Broken Arrow’s new Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center across from Bass Pro Shops.
Evidence of Broken Arrow Tiger wrestling coach Shawn Jones’ optimism for the upcoming season was on display Saturday at the BA Joe Zamora/Skyler Holman Open.
Even without reigning state champions Zach Marcheselli and Gavin Potter, and three other projected starters who also are playing football, five Tiger high school wrestlers claimed gold medals in the preseason tournament. Four other BA wrestlers placed second.
“It was a good weekend for our kids,” Jones said. “We outwrestled everybody. At end of day, it was neat to look around and see almost every mat populated with our kids.
“That is kind of a testament to how tough our room is right now,” Jones said about the internal competition that could make the 2017-2018 squad the deepest in the coach’s 11 seasons at the helm of Tiger wrestling.
There is no greater example of this depth than at 106 and 113 pounds, the two lightest weight classes. Broken Arrow’s Jared Hill and Blazik Perez wrestled for the 106 title. Hill won a 3-0 decision, his closest match of the tournament. At 113, Jackson Cockrell, last year’s staring 106-pounder and as a sophomore could still wrestle at that weight, defeated teammate Braden Anderson in the final.
The Tigers James Phares won a championship in the 126 B division. Andrew Police and Blake Gonzalez placed second and third, respectively, in 126 A. Reece Witcraft was a champion at 132. At 160, Aedan Cottle won the B division. Brett Thompson and Blayne Nichols finished in second and fourth, respectively, in 160 A.
“Sometimes a season plays out where it’s about having the next kid up who can move in and compete,” Jones said. “Our depth is really good. We are confident that we can put in a kid who compete at any weight.
“Honestly, we are further ahead than we have ever been at this point. We’re strong on paper,” Jones slightly paused. “Right now.”
Recognizing the difference between wrestling in early November and late February, Jones added this caveat.
“The BA Open is not regionals or the state championship,” he said. “We have to keep people healthy, keep them eligible and keep them wrestling on the right path.”
Translation: “Get better every day.”
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Tigers’ depth will be tested. Their regular season opener is Nov. 30 against Owasso. Challenging road trips follow with nationally ranked Park Hill (Mo.), the Gardner-Edgerton Invitational and Ohio’s Walsh Jesuit Ironman, the top rated prep wrestling tournament in the country. Broken Arrow finishes the first semester at home with Edmond Memorial on Dec. 14 and a tri-match with Edmond Santa Fe and Oklahoma City Capitol Hill the following day. The second semester starts at Choctaw on Jan. 4 and the Geary Invitational on Jan. 5-6.
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.