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
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
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
"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
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
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
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.