Spartans Rout Pioneers, Reach 6A-II Semifinals
11.11.17 by Ron Holt
"Playing great football in November and December that's what it's all about. I feel like we are peaking at just the right time."

Speaking was Bixby High junior defensive end/tight end Noah West after the Spartans turned up the intensity and elevated their play here Friday night in turning an expected tense battle into a comfortable 41-14 victory over Stillwater in the Class 6AII state quarterfinals at Lee Snider Field.

Sixth-ranked Bixby, 7-4 on the season, advances to the state semifinals next Friday, Nov. 17, against second-ranked Midwest City, 10-1, at a date and site to be determined earlier in the week.

Bixby's three-time defending state champions followed the script used by the past three Spartan teams by understanding the level of play needed to advance through the playoffs. It was just the first test but it was an impressive performance by Bixby on both sides of the ball.
No one was more excited about the quarterfinal matchup than Bixby senior quarterback Staton King, who attended Stillwater schools for six years before moving to Bixby as a freshman. He had friends on the opposing sideline.

King responded with an impressive performance, running 12 yards for the Spartans' first touchdown with 10:57 showing in the first quarter and throwing a pair of five-yard touchdown passes to Eric Calton-Watkins and a scrambling 14-yard TD toss to Cade Cavender with 27 seconds left in the first half as BHS created a 28-7 halftime lead.

A three-yard TD burst by senior Coby Tillman early in the third quarter and a one-yard blast by Vic Griffin with 2:41 remaining in the game allowed the Spartans to coast home with the win.
"Ever since I moved back here I wanted to play against them. To get to play them in this kind of setting was awesome," King said of the Pioneers.

"We played really good in the first half, came out and got a stop in the second half and finally got something going on offense in the third quarter, which we haven't been doing. Being able to do that really helped us a lot in the second half," added King, who was 18-of-24 passing for 138 yards and three scores while rushing eight times for 56 yards.
Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery agreed.

"At halftime, we talked about coming out and playing well in the third quarter. That was a point of emphasis," Montgomery said. "The defense came out and got a good stop and the offense responded.

"I was proud of our defense. We bowed our necks a couple of times and played well," coach Montgomery added. "I felt like we left a few points out there but I know this will give our guys some confidence going into the next round.

"This was probably one our best overall efforts. Being able to get stops and then put drives together and score points tonight this was big for our guys," Coach Montgomery noted.
Stillwater, which ends the season 8-3, featured freshman running back Qwontrel Walker, who erupted for a 55-yard touchdown sprint early in the second quarter and ended with 255 yards rushing on 23 carries. Senior running back Tyler Disidor ran four yards for a fourth-quarter TD for SHS.

Walker's 55-yard TD dash came after a Bixby turnover. The Spartans had driven to the SHS one-yard line before the ball popped loose as Tucker Pawley lunged for the goalline. SHS recovered in the end zone to thwart the drive and keep the Pioneers within striking distance at 13-0.

Five plays after the turnover, Walker caught daylight outside and out-ran the Spartans for the 55-yard score to trim Bixby's lead to 13-7 with 9:39 showing in the second quarter.
Bixby refused to relinquish the momentum, needing only six plays to increase its lead to 20-7 when King passed to Calton-Watkins for the five-yard TD with 8:03 left before halftime.

Offensively, Bixby finished with 370 total offensive yards. Pawley was the rushing leader with 20 carries for 134 yards. Brennan Presley finished with seven receptions for 46 yards while Pawley caught four passes for 38 yards.

Bixby's defense allowed the 255 rushing yards by Walker but the Spartans made life tough for Pioneer quarterback Gunnar Gundy, who was 9-for-20 passing for 70 yards and sacked for 18 yards in losses. Bixby's 'D" rallied numerous times to turn back SHS's offensive threats.

"We played really good and were really physical. We just had the attitude we had to stop the run," said West, a 6-1, 194-pound junior who had two sacks and a bone-crunching block on King's 14-yard TD toss to Cavender.

"This is the playoffs and you've got to have the attitude that you want to go out and hit someone to do whatever it takes to win the gold ball. We came out and did the job by getting the stop in the third quarter. Coach Montgomery was really preaching, and maybe yelling, that we needed to have a great third quarter," West added.

NEXT GAME - Midwest City advanced to the state semifinals after routing Sand Springs, 47-12, last Friday night at home. The Bombers scored touchdowns on their first five possessions. MWC quarterback Preston Colbert threw four TD passes with receiver Juwan Walker catching three TD aerials.
Bomber defensive back Tramon Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a TD. Defensive end Jalen Redmond, a Oklahoma commit, also leads the Bomber defense.
The Bombers lone loss this season was a 27-24 overtime loss at Booker T. Washington. "We've seen Midwest City on film and they're really good. It's not surprising they won," Coach Montgomery said.

NOTABLES - In other Class 6AII playoff games Friday, Tulsa Washington romped past Putnam City, 56-21, while Lawton outscored Muskogee, 57-36. The Hornets and Lawton meet in the other Class 6AII semifinal game. Bixby's senior middle linebacker Coby Tillman led the Spartan defense with 15 total tackles. He was also in on three tackles-for-losses. Presley was credited with six tackles, Clayton Barbour with 5.5 tackles and West and Cavender with four each. Stillwater ended with 10 penalties for 100 yards, including three unsportsmanlike penalties in the first quarter.