Life-shaping decisions came at the age of 15 for Pat Harper.
That was Harper's age when his father died. The then Broken Arrow High School sophomore had the option of spending his time goofing off and partying with buddies or sifting through his grief and angst by getting stronger and becoming a better football player.
“I learned quickly the importance of self-responsibility,” Harper said. “We didn’t have much money. No one in my family had gone to college, and I wanted to do that. I loved football, but didn’t know if I was good enough to play college football or not. I worked hard and was lucky enough to get a scholarship.”
The work habits of the 1984 BAHS graduate paid dividends. He became a three-year starter along the offensive line at the University of Tulsa.
While humbled – “I don’t know if I’m deserving or not.”
And honored – “I’m proud to be from Broken Arrow. This is a big deal.”
There is an added bonus to his Hall of Fame induction. The 2017 football season marks Harper’s 12th season as a head coach at Berryhill. With the Tigers opening home game now on Saturday, Harper will be able to attend the Broken Arrow Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony, since he won’t be on the Chiefs sideline for the first time in 25 years (13 as an assistant).
The excitement of being part of the ceremony is matched by the thrill of getting to see his son, Rowdy Harper, coach the Tigers offensive line.
“It’s going to be fun to watch him coach,” the elder Harper said. “He’s one of the best coaches around, and to see him have the same goal as me, to make kids better, makes it that much more special.”
The lessons Pat Harper learned growing up and passed along to his son, he now consistently shares with his teenage athletes.
“The decisions I made molded me into who I am,” he said. “I tell these kids every day that their life is what they make it. They may not have a lot of things, but they can become what they want to be and do anything they want to do. I tell each player that ‘you shape yourself.’”
And whether playing football in the 1980s or coaching football in 2017, Harper says part of the shaping comes from the surrounding each person creates for himself or herself.
“I didn’t realize until I was done just how important the relationships I developed while I was playing football would result in such lasting friendships and memories,” Harper said. “I took it for granted when I was there, but looking back, being part of a team, part of a family, that was the most enjoyable part about high school football.
“When kids tell me that they don’t want to play football anymore, I tell them they will regret it. I have never had a player say to me ‘I blew it, I shouldn’t have played football,’” Harper added. “But I have had kids who did quit and realize they shouldn’t have.
“I want every kid to play if he wants to. And it’s not about football. It’s about the lessons learned. It’s developing a work ethic and being a part of something bigger than yourself.”
July will be a month to remember for Broken Arrow sophomore-to-be Jackson Cockrell.
The Tiger wrestler earned All-American honors in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman at the National Junior Wrestling Championships in Fargo, N.D. Jackson was national runner-up in Freestyle and placed 7th in Greco-Roman. He finished with a combined record of 7-3 in the 100-pound weight class in both wrestling styles.
“This is the pinnacle for a high school wrestler,” said Broken Arrow assistant wrestling coach Rodney Jones said of the week-long national event. “Jackson’s success in the tournament has bolstered his confidence and will definitely carry over to the high school season.”
As a freshman, Cockrell was a state qualifier. At nationals, he was one of only two Oklahoma wrestlers to reach the freestyle finals.
The 15-year-old is the 2017 Oklahoma Junior champion and 2017 Southern Plains Junior champion in Freestyle and Greco-Roman.
The 2017 Broken Arrow Tigers football season features one of the best and possibly toughest home schedules in the history of Broken Arrow High School football.
2016 season ticket holders who renewed their season tickets for the 2017 season may upgrade their seats or add additional tickets the week of July 24 on a first-come, first-served basis. New season ticket orders begin July 31. Upgrades and new season tickets may be purchased in the athletic office from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
The five home-game reserved season ticket is just $50. Credit cards will be accepted, along with check or cash, however, all purchases are required to be made in person.
Football season ticket holders may also purchase an Adult All-Sports pass for just $50. Those wanting just the All-Sports Pass, which includes general admission seating for home football games, is $90. Those who purchase an Adult All-Sports Pass receive admission into all Broken Arrow home athletic events except playoff games.
In addition, a reserved parking pass in the lot on the stadium's east side is available for $100. Only 75 parking passes are available.
The Tigers open with Tulsa Union (Oklahoma 6A State Champion) at home. September is ushered in as Texas power Southlake Carroll (Lost to State Champion DeSoto in Texas Playoffs) crosses the border to play on Tiger Field. Near the end of the month, the Jenks Trojans (State Semifinalist) invade Memorial Stadium. Homecoming is Oct. 13 against Edmond Santa Fe (State Quarterfinalist). A pair of Tigers battle in the regular season home game finale as the Norman Tigers take on your hometown Tigers.
2017 Varsity Home Football Schedule
Saturday, Aug. 26, 11 a.m. vs. Union
Friday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m. vs. Southlake Carroll
Friday, Sept. 29, 7 p.m. vs. Jenks
Friday, Oct. 13, 7 p.m. vs. Edmond Santa Fe (Homecoming)
Thursday, Oct. 19, 7 p.m. vs. Norman
The Broken Arrow Tigers football season opener against the Union Redskins will be the first game of the Saturday (Aug. 26) portion of the 2017 GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff weekend, the sports programming network announced today.
“We are so excited about the opportunity to play football on ESPN,” said Ken Ellett, Broken Arrow Public Schools athletic director. “When it comes to exposure for our community, school and team it doesn’t get any better than that. It speaks volumes for Broken Arrow Schools and where we are headed as a school district.
“This will be something our kids will never forget.”
The Tigers-Redskins matchup, scheduled for an 11 a.m. start, is the first of four Saturday games. It is the only Saturday game on ESPN – the network’s flagship station. ESPNU will feature two games and the other will be on ESPN2.
A Sunday afternoon game concludes the seven-game slate, which features schools from 10 states and six state champions.
Click on the ESPN Media Zone link for more information about the 2017 GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff
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.