Bixby Football Earning National Recognition

By Ron Holt

Any discussions concerning Oklahoma’s finest high school football programs through the years would have to include the Bixby Spartans.

Since 2014, Bixby’s football program has progressed into a state power. The Spartans won seven Class 6A-II state championships in eight years while winning Class 6A-I state championships in 2022 and 2023 during the decade of dominance. Nine state championships in 10 years.

The Spartans compiled a state record 58 straight victories during the run and have won 74 of their last 75 games. Bixby is currently riding a 16-game winning streak.

Obviously, Bixby no longer sneaks up on an opponent. And the Spartans usually get the opponent’s best effort.

During the successful journey in state, Bixby is also attracting national attention. Twice in recent seasons, the Spartans have played in nationally televised games aired by ESPN.

BHS, which features a creative, explosive offense and an aggressive, big play making defense, is also becoming a fixture in preseason and final season high school football rankings nationally.

At the end of last season, Bixby was ranked No. 18 nationally in USA Today’s Top 25 and ranked No. 34 nationally by MaxPreps.

In 2018, the Spartans were ranked No. 193 nationally by MaxPreps. Since 2018 BHS has finished the season being ranked, in order, No. 80, No. 25, No. 18, No. 72 and No. 34 nationally by MaxPreps.

“Being on ESPN was pretty cool,” said Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery, who is entering his 15th year as Bixby’s head coach. “When we first got here and went to coaching clinics no one knew who Bixby was but now we’ll go to the big AFCA (America Football Coaches Association) coaches convention, and everyone knows about Bixby.

“It’s because of all the hard work by the kids, the coaches, the administration … everyone responsible for improving our brand and helping us be successful,” he added. “Football is important here and it’s fun to see us get recognized on a national level … it’s also stressful.

“It’s more because of the expectations we put on ourselves. I’ve been almost making myself sick wondering what we’re going to look like this coming season … with the rules changing and all the new faces we have out there.”

Last year, Montgomery was invited to serve as offensive coordinator at the Under Armour All-American Football Game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. He and his family were there for a week with Montgomery having the opportunity to work with five-star talent from throughout the nation.

In January, Montgomery became head coach of Team Fire with Spartan offensive coordinator Tyler Schneider, who is entering his 13th season at Bixby, asked to serve as Team Fire’s offensive coordinator in the 2024 Under Armour All-America game. Team Fire lost to Team Ice in the nationally televised game, but the experience was memorable.

“It was awesome … it was definitely a big honor getting to represent Bixby on that big of a stage,” Schneider said following a spring workout. “And it was really cool getting to meet those kids. Those players are impressive not just on what they do on the field but how they handle themselves.

“They are really professional … the way they eat and the way they train. My wife (Kaitlynn) went to check out the workout room when we first got there and there were five or six kids in there getting their workouts in after most of them had just flown in.

“They allowed us to do a little more offensively this year than in the past, but it was pretty limited. We took probably 25 percent of our Bixby offense and ran it. The game was a little disappointing since we lost but it was a blast,” he added.

Bixby’s veteran defensive coordinator Rodney Flowers received national recognition following the 2023 season as he was named the Frank Broyles Award’s high school assistant coach of the year in January.

“I was very grateful to be recognized as a good coach … it means a lot to me,” said Flowers, who is entering his 12th season on the Spartan staff. “It was awesome to just be nominated and to be voted on by other peers in the state. To win it was really cool and to have my wife (Amber) show up when I received it was awesome.

“Winning awards is not the main goal. If I hadn’t won the award and we win the last game every year I’m happy,” he noted.

Connor Myers, Bixby’s third-year strength and conditioning coach, and assistant Taylor Pence were recognized nationally recently when the National High School Strength and Conditioning Association recognized Bixby as a Program of Excellence for 2024-2027.

The Spartans’ approach to training and the results that approach produces is respected nationwide.

The program’s brand has also resulted in requests for Bixby’s coaches to speak at coaching clinics in the state and around the region.

“We’ve had a lot of requests to speak at coaching clinics, which is an honor,” Montgomery said. “We’ve been asked to speak on everything we do offensively, defensively and on special teams to leadership. We talk about how we market our program and how we do our strength and conditioning program … Coach Myers, our strength and conditioning coordinator, gets invited to speak a lot.

“When I first got into teaching you would get an hour of professional development credit if you went to an hour at a clinic, but they give you 15 hours credit if you were presenting at a clinic,” Montgomery said.

“I understand why because our guys have to put everything together before speaking at a clinic to explain our ‘why.’ Our guys grow from speaking at clinics.”

College football recruiters nationwide frequently visit Bixby’s program as the Spartans annually equip players for success at the next level. During recent signing days, Bixby had 12 players sign national letters of intent to play college football, the most in Coach Montgomery’s tenure.

Soon after the final signing day, Bixby’s coaches and players were back in the weight room, back to work preparing for the upcoming season. Bixby takes nothing for granted and constantly strives to improve its product.

Finding returning players to fill spots left vacant by graduating seniors and discovering the next team’s identity are part of Bixby’s busy spring and summer agenda.

It’s a process that’s served the Spartans well within the state while also attracting national attention.




2024-05-17T14:06:08-05:00May 17th, 2024|

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