BA to host 'Border Brawl' on August 31
Mansfield, Texas teams playing five games in Tulsa area
Broken Arrow High School head football coach David Alexander and juniors Kaizer Newell and DeMeco Roland were among the coaches and players gathered for a press conference in Union High School’s Redskins Room to promote next fall’s “Border Brawl.”
Broken Arrow and four area high schools – Bixby, Jenks, Sand Springs and Union – will host five schools from Mansfield, Texas, on August 31, in the first of a two-year agreement with the schools from Mansfield. The Oklahoma schools will travel to Texas in 2019.
“This, for us, is an opportunity to create an experience for our athletes,” said Philip O’Neil, Mansfield Independent School District Athletic Director, who created the idea of the “Border Brawl” as a way to capture some attention from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex media. “We couldn’t do that, obviously, without partnering with somebody.”
O’Neil first “pitched” the “Border Brawl” at a Frontier Conference Athletic Directors’ meeting. After a couple of more meetings during a six month period, the vision gave way to a schedule of 10 games over two years. On the final day of August 2018, Broken Arrow plays Mansfield High School at BA Memorial Stadium, Bixby hosts Timberview, Jenks plays Legacy. Sand Springs entertains Summit and Union hosts Lake Ridge. The same teams will play each other in Texas in 2019. Though no agreement is in place, O’Neil said his hope is to have the 2019 games at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“It’s been a great story to this point,” O’Neil said. “We really look forward to coming to Tulsa and playing next year. We know there is no control of that (playing at AT&T), but that is something we want to make happen.”
This will be the Tigers fourth consecutive season to play a Texas school. This school year, BA hosted Southlake Carroll. Broken Arrow played Euless Trinity in 2016 and got a win at Coppell in 2015. The Tigers are 2-2 against Texas teams, defeating Odessa Permian, 65-26, in 2011. That game was in Odessa.
Mansfield, also nicknamed the Tigers and sporting black and Vegas gold color scheme, were 11-2 last season, losing in the regional semifinal to Waco Midway. Mansfield is the largest of the five Mansfield high schools. Broken Arrow finished the 2017 season 7-5, losing to Union in the state semifinals.
“This is a big deal to these young kids. The opportunity to be on a big stage like this and play a big school in Texas that has a great reputation, this is something they’ll remember the rest of their lives.”
The partnership is not a football-only agreement, however. On March 10, the 10 schools will compete in a track meet in Mansfield. A year later, on March 9, 2019, Union will host the return meet.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes during my tenure as athletic director for Broken Arrow Public Schools, and this agreement gives us the chance to compete with the best of the best not only in football but other sports,” said BA athletic direct Ken Ellett, who has been in his position 28 years. “I think all 10 schools hope this can expand into additional opportunities for other sports as well. This could be a wonderful partnership for us, as well as our neighboring districts and for each of the Mansfield schools."