ALEX, Okla. – When it comes to small town rivalries, a sport or athlete can usually be found at the center of the debate.
A family in Alex is upset with the Ninnekah superintendent for what they perceived to be disparaging remarks he posted on Facebook about their son.
Maria Thompson said she couldn’t have been more proud of her nephew, Jose Ochoa, during his signing day ceremony earlier this month.
As a senior on the Alex football team, Ochoa rushed for 1,709 yards and scored 20 rushing touchdowns.
He’s listed at 5’3″ and 140 pounds.
Recently, he signed a letter of intent to play football for Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
His coach said Ochoa will have the cost of his college tuition covered by state and federal grants for low-income, in-state students.
However, Thompson said Facebook comments posted by Ninnekah Superintendent Todd Bunch were intended to rain on her nephew’s big day.
In another post, he wrote, “Do people not realize when you sign to play at a college they send a Representative from the college?? Wow.. Smh [shaking my head].”
Ninnekah doesn’t have a football team, but Thompson says the two towns, which are 10 miles apart, have a heated rivalry in other sports.
“We don’t understand where he’s getting this ‘fake’ notion,” Thompson said. “Why bash 18-year-old boys who are excited to play? Why does he care?”
Bunch declined an on-camera interview, but said on the phone the “fake” comments were directed at his own school because they don’t have a football team.
“I was not referring to them [Alex],” Bunch said. “I don’t even know them. I didn’t even know they had a signing day.”
Ochoa said he didn’t give the comments any thought and is focused on graduating this spring and starting his football career in Alva.
Thompson captured some of the Facebook posts below: