By Ron Holt
BROKEN ARROW –Finding creases in the middle of Broken Arrow’s defense, Bixby’s short-handed Spartans capitalized with an aggressive air attack in rolling past the Tigers, 51-7, in a Class 6A-I-District 1 football battle at Tiger Memorial Stadium here last Friday night.
Class 6A-I’s top-ranked Spartans, winners of 68 of their last 69 games and 10 in a row, improved to 7-0 overall and to 4-0 in the district. Broken Arrow, which was routed for the second year in a row by Bixby, dropped to 1-6 and to 1-3 in the league.
Bixby finished with 325 yards passing and six touchdowns with sophomore quarterback Carson Kirby passing for 299 yards and six TDs. On the ground, BHS combined to rush for 150 yards and one touchdown for 475 yards of total offense.
Bixby’s defense was equally dominating, holding the Tigers to five first downs and 206 total offensive yards. BA turned the ball over twice and punted eight times.
“Being short-handed I was pretty nervous about that to be honest with you,’ Loren Montgomery, Bixby’s 14th-year head coach, said. “I felt like a lot of guys stepped up, some of the younger guys stepped in and played well and some of our veterans played like veterans.
“I thought Carson had a really good game and I thought our offensive line played well especially without Evan (McClure, senior tackle). I think we’ll get some guys back for next week,” he added.
Taking the opening kickoff, Bixby traveled 65 yards in eight plays with the drive capped off by a 16-yard touchdown pass from Kirby to senior Yetxiel Perez with 9:55 left in the first quarter. Perez maneuvered through the BA defense to reach the end zone. Troy Nguyen kicked the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
On its next possession, Bixby needed six plays to increase its lead as Kirby connected with speedy senior Garrett Vaughn for a 51-yard touchdown with 2:01 remaining in the first quarter. Nguyen’s conversion kick gave BHS a 14-0 lead.
Broken Arrow threatened to score after Tayshawn Jones-Wade intercepted Kirby and returned the pigskin 53 yards to the Spartan seven-yard line. The momentum didn’t last long as three plays later Bixby senior Cooper Parker intercepted a jump pass by Tiger quarterback Cooper Bates and returned the theft 10 yards to the Spartan 21.
“When our boys up front get pressure and get into the quarterback’s face it makes it easier for Cooper to get the interceptions. We had some guys out, but it gives other guys a chance to make plays,” said senior defensive end Payton Hawkins, who ended with two solo tackles.
It took the Spartans three plays to strike after the interception as Kirby faked a handoff before launching a pass over the middle to wide open sophomore tight end Cord Nolan for a 68-yard TD and a 21-0 Spartan lead after Nguyen again kicked the conversion with 9:49 left before halftime.
On its ensuing possession, Bixby’s Kirby passed to an open Jett Turner for a 59-yard touchdown before Kirby hit Nolan with a two-point conversion pass for a 29-0 lead at the 7:24 mark of the second frame. The drive took two plays to travel 64 yards.
A 14-yard punt by BA’s Bates gave Bixby possession at its own 38-yard line on its next possession. On third-and-10 Kirby again found Perez for a 38-yard touchdown pass play and Parker passed to Nolan for the two-point conversion for a 37-0 intermission lead. It was Perez’ fourth TD reception this season. “He’s really grown ever since he’s gotten here,” Kirby said of Perez. “He’s gotten more into the program with our core values, and he’s turned out to be a great player for us.”
Bixby’s incomparable offensive coordinator Tyler Schneider agreed. “He was kind of a late move in,
getting here last spring,” Schneider said of Perez, who also carried a reverse 51 yards late in the second quarter. “Our defense is really good and has the philosophy that if they don’t score, we’ll win. He was focused more on defense and now that he’s got his wits about him on defense, we’re able to use him more on offense.”
The scoring barrage ended midway through the third quarter as Bixby scored on a 36-yard pass to Nolan with Nguyen kicking the conversion for a 44-0 lead. Parker intercepted Bates for the second time on BA’s following possession, setting up a 25-yard TD burst up the middle by senior Cody Crull. Nguyen’s PAT kick gave BHS a 51-0 cushion with 3:22 left.
BA senior running back Kaibre Harris helped the Tigers avoid the shutout. breaking free for an 80-yard touchdown run with 3:08 left in the third stanza.
Kirby, who took the majority of the snaps since senior quarterback-defensive back Clay Peters missed the game with an injury, overcame the early interception to refocus and keep the Spartans’ creative, explosive offense attacking, especially down the middle of the field. He’s steadily improved in his first season starting at signal-caller.
“I threw one pick, but I’ve worked on my attitude when something like that happens … I just have to come back from it and get the job done,” Kirby said. “We have a lot of amazing weapons … it’s a fun offense to run.”
“Carson played well,” coach Schneider said. “The interception was a busted play. I told Carson I thought tonight was his best game and last week was his best game. He’s continuing on an upward climb which is what we’ve talked about …don’t take any steps back.
“He’s a sophomore and is going to make mistakes but just don’t repeat the mistakes. He did a good job this week being a man down in the quarterback room, which added a little more pressure, but he handled it well and had a good week of practice.”
On the success passing over the middle, Schneider noted, “It was something we saw in our game plan that we were hoping to be able to make work. And anytime the target is Cord Nolan it’s a good idea to get him the ball. It was something our coaches saw on our game plan.”
Bixby’s defense, which also relied on the “next man up” mentality, was led in tackles by Perez, who finished with nine total tackles, including three solo stops. Senior defensive tackle Kason Hatley was credited with five tackles, four unassisted stops and three tackles for loss.
Senior defensive tackle Justin Kirk had five tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack. Senior linebacker Hank Puckett ended with five tackles including three solos while senior Colton Kaiser finished with four tackles, three unassisted, and junior Brooks Dixon also had four tackles, one unassisted. Parker ended with two tackles, both unassisted, and two pass interceptions.
“I think we came out hard on defense and we all did our jobs,” Kaiser said. “We didn’t let them have any deep balls … I thought we played pretty well. We let them have that one play but once we got down there (Spartan seven-yard line) we got the pick and shut them down.
“It’s a big game next week but we’ll come out and work hard this week and give great effort,” he added.
NEXT GAME – The Class 6A-II-District 1 lead will be on the line Friday (Oct. 20) when the Spartans
visit Westmoore (5-2, 4-0) with kickoff set for 7 p.m. at Moore Schools Stadium. Both teams are unbeaten in district play.
The Jaguars, coached by Lorenzo Williams, relied on senior quarterback MJ Graham, who was part of five touchdowns in Westmoore’s 42-20 victory over visiting Enid last Thursday night. Reportedly,
Graham was 17-of-24 passing for 168 yards and four touchdowns while running for 114 yards on 11 carries and scoring one TD.
Graham threw a nine-yard TD to his brother – junior Mishaun Graham. MJ, Mishaun and another younger brother moved to Westmoore from Oklahoma City Southeast this season and have been instant contributors to the Jaguars’ success.
Westmoore, which forced four Enid turnovers, has several talented players led by senior safety Mykel
Patterson-McDonald, who has committed to the Oklahoma Sooners. Patterson-McDonald was ranked No. 5 on the Daily Oklahoman’s Super 30 list. MJ Graham, who is committed to the University of Houston, was ranked No. 21 by the Oklahoman.
This season, Westmoore lost to Tulsa Union (49-7), defeated Yukon (54-28) and lost at Choctaw (29-10) in non-district play. The Jaguars defeated Moore (37-33), captured an upset at Jenks (16-12) and defeated Broken Arrow (42-35) before knocking off Enid.
“They’re super talented,” Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery said of the Jaguars. “I watched them play last night against Enid on live stream. They can throw it and they can run it pretty good … and they’ve got some big linemen.
“They’ll be ready to play. We’ll be going to their place and it’s a weird week with fall break. We just have to be focused,” he added.
Westmoore was 3-8 and 2-5 in 2022, losing at Bixby 73-6. The Spartans led 28-0 after one quarter last
year before leading 52-0 at halftime. Bixby amassed 510 yards of total offense while limiting Westmoore to 174 total offensive yards.
The two teams have played five times in recent history. In 2017, Bixby was upended at Westmoore (34- 22) and the Spartans defeated Westmoore (70-28) at home in 2016. In 2013, Westmoore won at Bixby (37-29) and defeated the Spartans (35-6) at home in 2012.
Following Friday’s game, Westmoore visits Norman North and hosts Southmoore while Bixby hosts Moore and visits Jenks down the stretch.
NOTEBOOK – MaxPreps ranked Bixby No. 23 nationally last week. … Bixby captains at Broken Arrow were Brody Duffel, Sam McCormick, Hank Puckett and Yetxiel Perez. … This season, Bixby quarterback Carson Kirby has completed 84-of-110 passes for 1,262 yards and 21 touchdowns. He’s been intercepted twice. Jett Turner is the rushing leader with 309 yards and five TDs on 40 carries while Garrett Vaughn
leads in receiving with 23 catches for 372 yards and five TDs. Seventeen Spartans have caught passes this season. … Defensively, linebacker Hank Puckett leads in total tackles with 59, including 34 unassisted.
Cooper Parker has 33 total tackles, 22 solos. Jett Turner leads in tackles for loss with eight while Puckett and Kason Hatley each have seven. … Senior kicker Troy Nguyen missed a 37-yard field goal attempt with 8:47 left in the third quarter, it was his first field goal attempt this season. … In other District 1 results last week, Jenks defeated Moore (31-6) and Norman North toppled Southmoore (43-14). In
District 1 games this week Norman North (5-2, 2-2) visits Moore (4-3, 1-3), Jenks (5-2, 3-1) travels to
Southmoore (0-7, 0-4) and Broken Arrow (1-6, 1-3) goes to Enid (2-5, 1-3).
Bixby 51, Broken Arrow 7
BHS – Yetxiel Perez 16 pass from Carson Kirby (Troy Nguyen kick), 12:00 BHS – Garrett Vaughn 53 pass from Kirby (Nguyen kick), 4:16
BHS – Cord Nolan 68 pass from Kirby (Nguyen kick), 10:18
BHS – Jett Turner 59 pass from Kirby (Nolan pass from Kirby), 8:12 BHS – Perez 37 pass from Kirby (Nolan pass from Cooper Parker), 6:01
BHS – Nolan 34 pass from Kirby (Nguyen kick), 5:15 BHS – Cody Crull 25 run (Nguyen kick), 4:30
BA – Kaibre Harris 80 run (Hunter Martens kick), 3:22