As for the next chapter in the preparation for the high school football season, the summer began with Monday night’s 7-on-7 passing league competition at the impossibly beautiful Union Stadium (now equipped with a new giant video card at the north end).
Because they don’t involve linemen, blocks, or tackles, these 7-on-7 drills are all about passing, receiving, and covering. They are generally light on actual hits, plot, and attendance.
Monday night was not typical. A nice crowd gathered on the shaded west side of the stadium, eager to see talented quarterbacks who changed uniform colors because they changed schools.
This particular 7-on-7 involved Union, Jenks, Owasso, Broken Arrow and Edmond Santa Fe. Alternating with other Union QBs, Shaker Reisig, who as a rookie last season completed 68% of his assists for class 6AI champion Jenks Trojans; and Simian Gilkey, a super athletic junior who was last season at Bartlesville.
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The Reisig and Gilkey families now reside in the Union School District. Reisig’s move was particularly surprising as he trained with Jenks on May 26 and joined the Union Redhawks on May 27 (during a team camp in Owasso).
When Jenks’ coach Keith Riggs left Allan Trimble Stadium on May 26, he says he had no idea his returning starting quarterback was just hours away from being added. to the list of Union Redhawks rivals.
“I was surprised when I got the message from (Reisig’s) father,” Riggs said. “Very surprised.”
Did Riggs ask for an explanation?
“I asked,” replied the coach. “I wasn’t given one, and I left it there.”
Another reporter – Jackson Presley – was a participant on Monday evening. Twenty-nine years ago, Brian Presley was a sophomore when he led Jenks to the Class 6A Championship. When Brian graduated in the spring of 1996, he did so as a QB who had been 24-2 as a starter for Troy.
Now Brian’s son, Jackson, is a ninth-grade Trojan. Brian Presley is a film and television actor who is also the CEO of production company P12 Films. Brian is moving P12 Films from the Los Angeles area to Tulsa and has already moved his three children to Tulsa.
Jackson is Presley’s eldest child, and on Monday he and Ike Owens and other Jenks quarterbacks alternated during the 7-on-7. Jackson is listed as 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds — and those measures seem legitimate.
Because he was a highly regarded Los Angeles-area QB for youth teams that traveled nationally, before he even took a single college photo, Jackson already has scholarship offers from Texas A&M, Oregon, Arizona and Florida. Georgia and Texas have expressed interest.
“He’s got a great frame,” Riggs said of Jackson Presley. “The rest we will see as we go into the summer.”
Prior to the recent quarterback move, Austin Havens from Owasso moved to Bixby. It all sounds like high school football free agency, but don’t expect to see multiple high-profile quarterback changes every year.
Before a player becomes eligible for a public high school, they must have a certified address in the new district. This is a heavy task for most families.
On Monday, Reisig, Gilkey, Jackson, Presley and several other QBs connected on some very impressive throws. On lateral passes from 8 to 12 yards, Reisig has some serious heat. On those pitches, he looked like he had 5 mph more on his fastball than anyone else in the stadium.
Gilkey is super athletic and has a great arm. Jackson Presley has manual mechanics and movement. Mason Willingham is a proven veteran for Owasso. There were quality QBs all over the field, and this kid deserves a mention: Ninth-grade Union student Jeramiah Ssettimba has striking arm strength and fantastic touch on deep throws. During a 60-minute session just for freshmen, he dropped pennies everywhere.
Union has three QBs — Reisig, Gilkey and Grayson Tempest — who have been college starters.
“We realize it’s hard to get reps for all these (quarterback) in a situation like this,” Union coach Kirk Fridrich said. “It’s going to be a body of work over the summer (and into) the start of the season, to try to get it down to two (a starter and a top back). By the time the season starts, you want to get to two.
Of Reisig’s unexpected arrival, Fridrich said: “When he came into the locker room he was bigger than I expected. Until tonight, I really haven’t had the chance to see him pitch.
By that, Fridrich means he hadn’t seen Reisig throw to Redhawk receivers. Reisig’s first college start came at Union in last year’s Backyard Bowl, and there was a rematch in the 6AI title game. Reisig was 11-0 as a starter for Jenks and 2-0 against Union.
“Over the past week, Shaker has done a really good job of getting along with our coordinators and making sure he understands what we’re doing,” Fridrich said. “We are not there, far from it. We were off last week, but he was studying to try to catch up on what he missed in the spring.
This Union-hosted event was the first public preview of what the 6AI class could look like in the 2022 season. Next Monday, these teams do it again at Jenks. A week later, in Owasso. On July 11, the passing league ends at Broken Arrow.
As the Bixby machine has gone from the 6AII class to the 6AI, and with all that quarterback talent and five teams vying for the championship in the Tulsa area, the 2022 season might be the most anticipated ever here.