Bixby Erupts by Rams, Meets Jenks in State Final

By Ron Holt

Bixby’s unbeaten Spartans went from one extreme to another during last Friday afternoon’s Class 6A-I state semifinal battle with the Owasso Rams at Sand Springs Memorial Stadium.

The top-ranked Spartans quickly established a 14-0 first quarter lead and held a 14-7 lead at halftime. But after the early scoring spree Bixby stalled as the Rams pulled even at 14-all with 6:27 left in the third quarter as Bixby searched for answers.

At the time, Owasso had more offensive yards, more megaphones and momentum. It didn’t last long, however.

Bixby (12-0) flipped the script in dramatic fashion, scoring 21 points in the final 5:53 of the third quarter and 21 points in the fourth quarter in rolling to a stunning 56-14 victory over the Rams (9-3) to advance to the state championship football game for the 10th season in a row and second straight in Class 6A-1.

It will be a rematch of district rivals in the Class 6A-1 state championship game when the Spartans meet the Jenks Trojans (8-4) at 7 p.m. Friday (Dec. 1) at University of Central Oklahoma’s Chad Richison Stadium in Edmond. Bixby won 31-14 at Jenks in the regular season finale to secure the district crown.

Jenks, which captured back-to-back Class 6A-1 state championships in 2020 and 2021, scored with 35 seconds remaining at Sand Springs last Friday night in overcoming second-ranked Tulsa Union, 33-27, in the other 6A-1 semifinal game.

Bixby, winners of 73 of the past 74 games and 15 in a row, used a 16-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Carson Kirby to sophomore Cord Nolan, a three-yard TD burst by senior Jett Turner and point-after kicks by senior Troy Nguyen to take a 14-0 lead with 6:00 showing in the first quarter.

Owasso regrouped, turning the tide offensively and defensively. The Rams went on a 14-play scoring drive which ended in a 15-yard TD pass from quarterback Knox Dyson to Noah Hill, narrowing the deficit to 14-7 at intermission.

The OHS duo combined for a 55-yard TD pass play midway through the third quarter, tying the game at 14-all before Bixby dramatically took control.

“We came out and jumped up on them and they adjusted to some of our stuff … and we just relaxed,” Bixby’s 14th-year head coach Loren Montgomery said. “We had a couple of critical holding calls that got us behind the chains. Fortunately, the defense hung in there and got the ball back a few times to get us going.”

Turner started the turnaround when he found a crease in the line up the middle and sprinted 55 yards for a touchdown with 5:53 left in the third quarter. Nguyen’s conversion kick gave BHS a 21-14 lead.

“They are a great defense … we’ve played them a lot. They knew the momentum we have and the pace we play with when we get going,” said the talented Turner, who finished with 14 rushes for 141 yards and three touchdowns. “We knew it was going to be a tough game.

“The defense started the momentum shift and then the touchdown got us going. The defense stepped up big time,” he added.

On Owasso’s next possession, running back Jayden Moll bolted 29 yards before having the ball knocked loose by the Spartans. The fumble was snared by Nolan leading to a 66-yard TD romp down Bixby’s sideline by Kirby for a 28-14 BHS lead with 4:42 left in the third period.

The run resembled an 85-yard TD burst in the 2022 opener against Owasso by Kirby’s older brother, Connor, also a Spartan QB. “We repped that play all week but wanted to run it when things were perfect and that’s what we did,” Carson Kirby said afterward. “People were saying I looked like Connor last year. It feels amazing.

“The first drive we came out pretty hot and then we didn’t do much but when we came in at halftime, we knew we needed to get a stop and get into the end zone. We executed really well in the second half,” he noted.

Bixby’s defense entered the scoring act minutes later when senior linebacker-quarterback Cooper Parker intercepted a Dyson pass, returning it 30 yards for a Spartan TD and a 35-14 lead with 3:47 left in the third frame.

“It was an RPO play. I was reading run, but then I saw him drop back so I just looked for the ball. I knew I was going all the way … I wasn’t going to be stopped running for that touchdown,” said Parker, who finished with 10 total tackles, seven unassisted. He had two tackles for loss, one sack and the interception. He also rushed five times for 76 yards and one TD in the semifinal.

“Their defense shut us down and had a good game plan for us, but we came out the second half and did our thing,” Parker added.

The Spartan lead grew to 42-14 when quarterback Parker found an opening up the middle, hit open space and outran the Rams for a 50-yard touchdown opening the fourth quarter.

Senior Clay Peters, another Spartan quarterback and defensive back, got into the scoring when he bolted 22 yards for a touchdown with 10:40 left in the game. A one-yard TD run by Turner with 6:54 showing in the final stanza ended the Spartan surge.

“We had a hard time getting something going on offense at the end of the first half and start of the second but once we scored and got a pick, we got things rolling,” said Nolan, who scored a touchdown, intercepted a Ram pass and recovered an OHS fumble.

“I was expecting the momentum shift to happen sometime. It was awesome,” Nolan added.

“When they tied it up, they then squirted a long run and fumbled. That’s kind of what got us going,” coach Montgomery added. “There were a lot of big plays. Credit our guys for hanging in there and making big plays. It’s that time of the year when in big games your best players have to step up.”

The Spartans now turn their attention to the state championship battle with Jenks. Bixby has won eight of its past nine title game appearances, including last year’s 69-6 rout of Owasso … the Spartans first in Class 6A-I.

“We have just one more game left, and this is my first time ever playing in the championship, so it’s just a great feeling. I’m super excited for it,” said Kirby, who was eight-of 12 passing for 47 yards and one TD against Owasso while also rushing three times for 72 yards and a score.

LEADERS – In the semifinal’s first half, Owasso had 197 yards of total offense while Bixby was limited to 90 total offensive yards – 68 yards rushing. Those numbers changed in the second half.

Bixby ended with 400 yards of total offense, including 330 rushing yards. The Spartans played turnover-free football while Owasso, which had 358 total offensive yards, ended with five turnovers, including four interceptions.

Defensively, Bixby – which recorded three sacks for 24 yards in losses, was led by senior linebacker Colton Kaiser, who was credited with 14 total tackles, four solo stops and two tackles for loss. Senior linebacker Hank Puckett ended with 13 total tackles, eight unassisted stops, two tackles for loss and two sacks.

“We started fast and went up the first two possessions and then we stalled out and allowed them to come back,” Puckett said. “All it took was the one run by Jett and then we got the fumble which Cord recovered. We knew we were rolling … we got out mojo started again.”

Senior Kendall Gouldsby, junior Brooks Dixon and senior Justin Kirk each ended with six tackles while senior Cody Crull and senior Gib Husen each had five total tackles. Kirk also had a sack.

REMATCH – Jenks has challenged the Spartans in recent meetings. The Trojans ended Bixby’s 58-game winning streak in the 2022 regular season finale with a 38-35 road win. The Spartans responded with a 28-14 win over Jenks in the state semifinal at Broken Arrow last season.

In the 31-14 Spartan win in Week 10, Jenks used a 31-yard scoring pass from quarterback Owen Jones to Khy Beaty and a 36-yard scoring dash by Kaydin Jones to lead the Spartans 14-7 at halftime. Jett Turner’s three-yard TD run was the Spartans’ lone first half score.

Quarterback Carson Kirby and receiver Blake Hogshooter highlighted Bixby’s 24-point second half eruption as the two combined on touchdown passes of 14, 42 and 36 yards while Troy Nguyen kicked a 36-yard field goal in Bixby’s win.

The Trojans featured a rugged defense and an offense led by sophomore running back Kaydin Jones, who rushed 22 times for 158 yards and three TDs, in rallying for the semifinal win over Union. Jones scored on a 27-yard sprint with 35 seconds left to spark Jenks’ win.

NOTABLES – Bixby senior receiver-defensive back-punt returner Kordell Gouldsby had another exciting punt return. He let a late Ram punt hit the turf but when the ball began bouncing toward the Spartan end zone, he grabbed the ball at the BHS five and returned it 93 exciting yards before being dragged down at the OHS two. This season, Gouldsby has 20 punt returns for 556 yards and four touchdowns. He has a long return of 97 yards and averages 27.8 yards per punt return. … Bixby has beaten Owasso four times the past two seasons, outscoring the Rams, 216-50.   … In the last seven games against Jenks, Bixby has a 5-2 record. … Bixby was ranked No. 41 nationally by MaxPreps entering this week. … Defeating Owasso was important to Bixby senior Cooper Parker for more reasons than one. “It’s really good for us, obviously it’s the state semifinals and now you get to go to state but for me my uncle coaches on that team. Thanksgiving was a little tense yesterday,” Parker said with a smile. …  Bixby defensive players intercepting Ram passes were Yetxiel Perez, Cord Nolan, Cooper Parker and Emory Snyder. Perez barely missed grabbing another interception with a one-handed leaping attempt. It was the third interception for Perez, second for Nolan and Parker and first for Snyder. Nolan recovered his first fumble this season. …  This season, Kirby has passed for 2,136 yards and 34 touchdowns while Turner leads the ground attack with 97 carries for 794 yards and 14 TDs. Nolan has 19 pass receptions for 564 yards and nine TDs while Garrett Vaughn has 34 receptions for 491 yards and eight scores. Gouldsby averages 141.8 all-purpose yards a game. Defensively, Hank Puckett leads with 108 total tackles and 13 tackles for loss. Colton Kaiser has 80 total stops and Parker has 77 total tackles. Justin Kirk leads BHS in sacks with 9.5 while Puckett was credited with seven. … Spartan captains against Owasso were seniors Sam McCormick, Brody Duffel, Puckett and Chase Kirby.


First Quarter

BHS – Cord Nolan 16 pass from Carson Kirby (Troy Nguyen kick), 8:48

BHS – Jett Turner 3 run (Nguyen kick), 6:00

Second Quarter

OHS – Noah Hill 15 pass from Knox Dyson (Hill kick), 6:46

Third Quarter

OHS – Hill 55 pass from Dyson (Hill kick), 6:27

BHS – Turner 55 run (Nguyen kick), 5;53

BHS – Carson Kirby 66 run (Nguyen kick), 4:42

BHS – Cooper Parker 30 pass interception return (Nguyen kick), 3:47

Fourth Quarter

BHS – Parker 50 run (Nguyen kick), 12:00

BHS – Clay Peters 22 run (Nguyen kick), 10:40

BHS – Turner 1 run (Nguyen kick), 6:54





2024-02-15T18:30:57+00:00November 27th, 2023|

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