By Ron Holt
Like boxers, top-ranked Bixby and seventh-ranked Broken Arrow gave each other their best shots early in a lengthy Class 6AI-District 1 football game in front of an overflow crowd at Lee Snider Stadium Friday night.
Following the early salvo, unbeaten Bixby staggered the Tigers by landing punches through the air, on the ground and through special teams, breaking away from a 7-7 tie by scoring 49 consecutive points in carving out a 77-17 unanimous decision over the visitors.
Bixby improved to 7-0 overall and strengthened its District 1 lead to 4-0. Broken Arrow dropped to 2-5 and 2-2. The Spartans’ winning streak increased to 56 games which is a state 11-man record and is currently the most consecutive wins by a high school football team nationally.
The spirited, hard-hitting contest featured 15 penalties for 145 yards, including 10 penalties for 100 yards by the Spartans. Each team turned the ball over three times. Thirty of Broken Arrow’s penalty yards came late in the first quarter resulting in a Tiger player being ejected.
“There was a lot of fire and a lot of hard-hitting early in the game but of course that wears off when you start putting up a lot of points,” Bixby senior quarterback Austin Havens said.
After forcing a Broken Arrow punt on the visitors’ opening possession, Bixby struck quickly as senior quarterback Connor Kirby bolted 30 yards to BA’s 21. He hit senior Jersey Robb with a 12-yard pass play to the one where Kirby scored on the next play for an early 7-0 first quarter lead.
Broken Arrow responded as 5-7 sophomore Kayleb Barnett snared a screen pass from sophomore quarterback Owen Jones and raced 86 yards for a touchdown, tying the game at 7-all at the 9:05 mark of the first quarter.
BA’s celebration was short-lived as Spartan junior speedster Kordell Gouldsby returned the ensuing kickoff 72 yards to the Tiger 12-yard line. On the first play, Havens lofted a pass into the corner of the end zone and senior Christian Kaiser made the TD catch behind a defender with 8:46 left in the first quarter. Kaiser ran for the two-point conversion and 15-7 BHS lead.
“There was a guy in front of me and the ball came back to my right … it was the perfect ball for me to catch,” said Kaiser of his second TD reception this season.
Bixby converted on its next possession as Havens and senior receiver Cale Fugate combined for a 38-yard TD pass, increasing the Spartan lead to 22-7 with 6:38 left in the opening stanza. The lead grew to 28-7 when Kirby passed to senior tight end Luke Hasz for a 19-yard TD. The point-after kick was blocked.
The intensity increased when senior safety Jakeb Snyder impressively picked off a BA pass, returning the theft 54 yards before having his helmet ripped off during the tackle attempt while being smothered by Tigers.
Tempers flared before order was restored. BA was assessed two penalties along with having a player ejected, moving the ball to the Tiger 13-yard line. Two plays later, Havens scrambled away from pressure before hitting L. Hasz for a seven-yard TD. Levi Hoffman’s point-after kick made it 35-7.
Following a 15-yard BA punt, Bixby’s Kirby tossed a short pass to Gouldsby resulting in a 24-yard touchdown and 42-7 lead opening the second quarter.
Bixby closed out the first half with an eight-yard TD run by junior Jett Turner and a three-yard TD run by Havens for a 56-7 intermission lead.
Broken Arrow used a 26-yard TD pass from Jones to senior Kade Mathews and a 27-yard field goal by Hunter Martens to finish its scoring in the third period.
The Tiger scores were sandwiched around a dazzling 18-yard touchdown run by Bixby junior Cody Crull, who broke several tackles, used his hand to stay upright before scooting into the end zone for his first varsity TD.
“I saw the hole and hit it and saw a guy coming out of the corner of my eye, so I cut left and stiff-armed him, but he got a little bit of my legs,” Crull said. “I stumbled but put my hand down and kept my legs moving and the next thing I knew I was in the end zone.
“It was incredible … hearing the crowd. It was awesome seeing all the support we had from the fans,” he added.
Bixby reserves finished the scoring parade in the fourth quarter as sophomore Bode Cairl scored from a yard out and senior Braysen Trusty raced 27 yards to paydirt.
“A lot of things went right for us, our guys made a lot of good plays and executed really well,” Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery said. “I’ll be honest with you when you get to play a big game at home it’s pretty cool. Our fans came out and Broken Arrow’s fans came out … it was high school football at its best.
“We talk every week about what we want our brand to look like … hopefully we’ve got a bunch of guys playing hard and flying around the football.”
Offensively, Bixby had 637 total yards – 346 passing and 291 rushing. Bixby’s one-two quarterback combination each produced. Havens passed for 203 yards and three touchdowns while running for his first TD. Kirby ran 12 times for 105 yards and a TD while passing for 65 yards and two scores.
“We felt like coming in that it was going to be a physical game, but we feel like that’s one of our strong suits,” said Havens. “I felt we played well, but we can do better. I thought I played pretty well … I made a couple of mistakes I’ve got to get fixed.
“It’s taken too long, I should have done that a lot sooner, but it felt great getting a rushing touchdown,” Havens added
Bixby’s offensive line impressed, both opening holes for the ground game and protecting the quarterbacks. “At the start they put up a good fight … it was a dog fight but as soon as we got the scores on up there, they got tired,” said Spartan senior offensive lineman Dez Traylor.
“We thought we could run the ball … we have great running backs and a great offensive line. We are all close and we know what we’re doing.”
Corbin Burchett, Bixby’s 11th-year assistant coach in charge of the offensive line, was pleased his troops response against BA’s large defensive line. “I do love physical ball games and I knew they had a very stout defensive line and the linebacking group is tough.
“We knew they were going to hit you in the face. Our guys did hit back … we could have hit back a little better but I’m very proud of them. They came out and handled the physical nature of the game very well. We’ve had a couple of injuries and had to move some people around, but they look like a cohesive unit. I love guys who can work together and know exactly what each other’s going to do.”
NEXT GAME – Bixby hosts Westmoore in a District 1 fall break game Thursday, Oct. 20, at Lee Snider Stadium, kicking off at 7 p.m. Westmoore (2-5, 1-3) suffered a 9-7 district loss at Enid last Thursday.
This season coach Lorenzo Williams’ Jaguars lost at Union (57-10), defeated Yukon (30-7) at home, lost at home to Choctaw (46-20), won at Moore (27-17), lost at home to Jenks (28-22) and lost at Broken Arrow (31-3) before visiting Enid.
Bixby and Westmoore split non-league meetings in 2016 and 2017. The Jaguars lost at Bixby, 70-28, in 2016 while Bixby lost at Westmoore, 34-22, in 2017.
“We have tape from Broken Arrow’s game with them last week. They are big and physical,” Coach Montgomery said of the Jaguars. “They run a little different scheme than we’ve seen so we’ll need a good week of practice on a short week.
“Starting next week, we’ll play on a Thursday for three straight weeks,” he added.
NOTABLES – The most points Broken Arrow allowed prior to Bixby’s 77-point output Friday came in a 62-24 loss at Jenks in 2016. …On Bixby’s first offensive possession, senior running back-linebacker Jersey Robb suffered a sprained ankle after catching a 12-yard pass from Connor Kirby. He missed the remainder of the game. His availability this week is uncertain. … Late in the second quarter, BHS quarterback Austin Havens lofted a pass which Cale Fugate appeared to catch in the end zone despite battling a BA defender for the ball. It was ruled as an interception. Two plays later, Broken Arrow lost a fumble. … Last week, the Spartans were ranked No. 23 by Stadium Talk, No. 35 by High School Football
America and No. 49 by MaxPreps. … Offensively, Bixby is led this season by Havens with 905 passing yards, 12 TDs and four interceptions. Kirby has passed for 694 yards, 12 TDs and one interception while rushing for 459 yards and nine TDs. Robb has 459 rushing yards and eight TDs; Snyder has 27 pass receptions for 252 yards and four scores, Kordell Gouldsby has 25 catches for 431 yards and five TDs and Luke Hasz has 18 receptions for 286 yards and five TDs. … This season, BHS senior Tyson Williams has returned 14 punts for 310 yards and three TDS while Gouldsby has returned two kickoffs for 154 yards and a TD while returning three punts for 71 yards.
BIXBY ‘D’ – Bixby’s defense limited Broken Arrow to 233 offensive yards while forcing 11 punts. Senior Jakeb Snyder, junior Hank Puckett and sophomore Cooper Parker each were credited with eight tackles. Snyder had six unassisted stops, two tackles for loss and his third pass interception this season. Puckett had five solo stops and one tackle for loss while Parker had seven unassisted tackles while causing a fumble.
Senior Dylan Hasz ended with six tackles while senior Cale Fugate and junior Brandon Hobbs each had five tackles. Hasz had two solo stops while Fugate had three unassisted tackles. Junior Jett Turner recovered a Tiger fumble.
“I expected it to be a physical game. We got very good leverage in the D-line when we fired off,” said 5- 10, 235-pound Hobbs, who had two tackles for loss. “It was a fun game to play in front of a big crowd.
We wish we hadn’t let them score that much but we did a good job on defense.”
Bixby is led this season by Puckett, who is credited with 65 tackles, 31 unassisted. Parker and Robb each have 35 total tackles. Parker has 25 unassisted stops and Robb has 16 solo tackles. Junior Karson Hatley, who has 22 tackles, leads BHS in tackles for loss with nine
ON THE AIR – Bixby games are aired over The Sports Animal, FM-93.7 with Shawn Tiemann handling play-by-play and Mark Wozniak offering color commentary. Loren Montgomery’s Coaches Show is held Tuesdays at 6 p.m. from Doc’s Country Mart.
BHS OPPONENTS – Bixby opponents’ scores last Thursday: Owasso won at Yukon, 36-17; Putnam City West lost at Sand Springs, 44-14; Norman North won at Southmoore, 64-10. In Friday’s other games, Springdale Har-Ber (1-6) lost at home against Bentonville West, 41-28, while Moore (4-3, 1-3) lost at Jenks (5-2, 3-1).
DISTRICT 1 SLATE – Other Class 6A-District 1 games scheduled Thursday include Southmoore (1-6, 0-4) at Jenks (5-2, 3-1) and Enid (4-3, 2-2) at Broken Arrow (2-5, 2-2) while Friday’s district game
features Moore (4-3, 1-3) at Norman North (5-2, 3-1).
BIXBY 77, BROKEN ARROW 17
BHS – Connor Kirby 1 run (Levi Hoffman kick), 10:07
BA – Kayleb Barnett 86 pass from Owen Jones (Hunter Martens kick), 9:05 BHS – Christian Kaiser 12 pass from Austin Havens (Kaiser run), 8:46 BHS – Cale Fugate 38 pass from Havens (Hoffman kick), 6:38
BHS – Luke Hasz 19 pass from Kirby (kick blocked), 2:38 BHS – Hasz 7 pass from Havens (Hoffman kick), 1:12
Second Quarter BHS – Kordell Gouldsby 24 pass from Kirby (Hoffman kick), 11:51 BHS – Jett Turner 8 run (Hoffman kick), 2:56
BHS – Havens 3 run (Hoffman kick), :16
Third Quarter BA – Kade Mathews 26 pass from Jones (Martens kick), 8:24 BHS – Cody Crull 18 run (Hoffman kick), 6:28
BA – Martens 27 field goal, 2:576
BHS – Bode Cairl 1 run (Hoffman kick), 5:44
BHS – Braysen Trusty 27 yards (Hoffman kick), 3:54