By: Natalie Eaton
The bright Friday night lights, the student section screaming, and the community gathering together to watch Jenks football play has begun once again. With the old players graduated, and new rookies filling in, everyone is excited to see the new players out on the field, especially in the quarterback position.
After coming off of an impressive state championship win against Edmond in 2020, Jenks football is filling many roster spots that a very talented graduating class left behind. In the quarterback position, Stephen Kittleman moved on to play at the University of Tulsa. Now, two young quarterbacks who learned under Kittleman are stepping up to take his place.
Ike Owens, a junior and Jenks lifer, is ready to step up as a leader this year for the Jenks football program. During his freshman and sophomore years, Owens shadowed Kittleman and learned how to grow in the position in preparation for Kittleman’s departure.
“He was like an older brother to me. On the football field, he was one of the best competitors I’ve ever been around, that’s how I want to play,” said Owens. “Football wise, he told me to be calm in the pocket, lead your team, and put God first. People are always watching you.”
Owens has a strong background in baseball, but always knew he wanted to be a quarterback. His parents let him start playing in football in intermediate school, and now is approaching his sixth year with the Jenks Football program.
Now, Owens is trying to step up and be a leader to his team. Especially to the younger quarterbacks like freshman Shaker Reisig. By pushing each other in practice and giving advice, the two quarterbacks learn from one another.
“We help each other out a lot,” said Reisig. During practice, we are always asking each other questions about what we can do better. “I ask him stuff all the time during games, what he sees during a play and what the play was. There is definitely competitiveness, but we are super cool with each other.”
Reisig’s originally from New York, and learned about the Jenks football program when he attended a camp back in 2017. With nine years of experience as a quarterback, Reisig has dreams of being a collegiate player after high school. In New York, ice hockey, lacrosse, and soccer are bigger focuses, while football is not as competitive. Reisig was ready to take his game to the next level, and his parents were ready to get out of New York and come to Jenks for more opportunities.
Like Owens, Reisig is hoping to grow into a bigger role model, and is ready to prove himself as a freshman.
“Leadership, you gotta be a big leader,” said Reisig. “As far as a 6A-1 school that just came off of a big state championship win, you need to lead really well.”
Dealing with pressure and staying composed is a big challenge both players are willing to take on. Owens and Reisig are under a lot of spotlight, especially in the Jenks community. Both are different players and have unique talents to bring to the game of football. Seen as a double threat, both are paving a bright future for the Jenks Football program.
“It is a big role, a lot of people look up to you,” said Owens. “You got to be, obviously, a great player on the field but a big role model to the younger people off the field. I think it is super special, but super challenging because all eyes are on you and you gotta make the right decisions.”
Owens describes himself as a “dual threat,” where he can throw the ball and run it well. Reisig thinks his biggest attribute is his throwing, and is working on being more mobile. Both quarterbacks are pushing each other to be better, and are constantly wanting to improve.
Although it is a two-quarterback system, Owens and Reisig enjoy the competitiveness and are super close outside of football. When one is starting and the other is not, both know that nothing is permanent and that they must continue to work hard in practice and get better.
“I can never be complacent,” said Owens. “I know all quarterbacks are great, and I have a lot of competition so I have to try my best.”
For the 21-22 football season, Owens and Reisig both share the same common goals for their team this year. “Be district champs, and ultimately reach the end goal of becoming back-to-back state champions.”
The Jenks Trojan Torch wishes both quarterbacks and the Jenks Football Team the best of luck!