By Ron Holt
SAND SPRINGS – Starting efficiently in each half, Bixby’s unbeaten and top-ranked Spartans romped past Sand Springs, 51-20, in a Class 6AII-District 2 confrontation here last Friday night at Memorial Stadium.
Bixby, which scored 22 first quarter points and 21 in the third quarter, had impressive moments offensively, defensively and in special teams in seizing the early momentum and forcing the Sandites (4- 3, 2-2) to battle uphill all evening.
The Spartans (6-0, 3-0) were beneficiaries of field position in the first quarter, starting each offensive possession in Sandite territory. Bixby failed to capitalize until the Spartans sniffed out a Sandite fake punt with Bixby’s Jersey Robb stopping Keaton Campbell behind the line on fourth-and-two, handing Bixby the ball at the hosts’ 13-yard line.
On the next play, Spartan senior quarterback Mason Williams connected with sophomore Luke Hasz for a 13-yard touchdown with 6:01 showing in the first stanza. Connor Nolan converted the point-after kick.
Hasz’ twin brother, Dylan, joined the scoring parade after Bixby forced a Sandite punt on their next possession. The punt hit off a Sand Springs player before the alert Dylan Hasz scooped up the ball, broke a tackle, found an opening outside and out-ran the Sandites for a 50-yard TD return. Robb ran for the two- point conversion for a 15-0 Spartan lead at the 3:34 mark of the first quarter.
“Dylan had a good game tonight. He’s been doing a good job returning those punts. He’s a really smart football player,” Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery said. This season, D. Hasz has returned two kickoffs 52 yards and returned 10 punts for 111 total yards.
- Hasz confidently grabbed another bouncing punt and returned it 17 yards to set up the Spartans’ next score which came on a 42-yard touchdown pass play from Williams to L. Hasz for a 22-0 lead with five seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
It was the start of a productive night for L. Hasz, who finished with eight catches for 142 yards and two scores.
“Last week we didn’t have a good game,” the 6-4, 200-pound L. Hasz said of the home win over Choctaw. “This week in practice we were more serious, we were dialed in more. I think we had good blocks tonight and Mason always throws the ball where it needs to be … I’m glad we had success tonight.”
Sand Springs wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as quarterback Ty Pennington hit a wide-open Jamon Sisco, who broke a trio of tackles in completing a 69-yard touchdown effort. A two-point conversion pass by Pennington failed making it a 22-6 game with 11:45 left in the second stanza.
The Spartans went on a lengthy drive at the 9:17 mark, converting two fourth-down plays. before Robb, a 5-10, 200-pound sophomore, scored on a five-yard run and ran for the two-point conversion extending Bixby’s lead to 30-8 with 6:36 left before halftime.
Sand Springs had one final threat late in the first half after Williams was intercepted and the Sandites took possession at the Bixby 35. Bixby’s defense stiffened when junior Miles Hill sacked Pennington for a six- yard loss to start the drive, which ended on a failed fourth-and-three situation.
Bixby’s second half was jump-started by D. Hasz’s 44-yard kickoff return to the Sandite 40-yard line. Junior Braylin Presley finished the drive with an 18-yard TD run and Nolan’s point-after kick gave BHS a 37-6 lead at the 10:07 mark in the third quarter.
Presley also scored from three yards out with 7:24 left in the quarter, extending Bixby’s lead to 44-6. The drive was highlighted by a 48-yard pass play from Williams to L. Hasz.
Bixby’s lead grew to 51-6 with 5:18 showing in the third quarter when Williams fired a short pass to Presley, who made a couple of nifty moves before breaking free and winning a dash to the end zone for a 78-yard TD pass play. Nolan added the conversion kick.
Sand Springs’ Pennington, a junior signal-caller, scrambled 59 yards to the Bixby 18-yard line on the Sandites next possession. The drive ended in a 20-yard scoring pass play from Pennington to Campbell making it a 51-13 game. Campbell went up over coverage by Spartan Jakeb Snyder to corral the pass. The Sandites added a 20-yard touchdown burst by running back Blake Jones with 8:25 remaining in the game.
“We had a few of the same mistakes and at times things looked really good,” Coach Montgomery added. “Still, the last two weeks we haven’t found our rhythm that we’ve been used to in the past. There were a lot of penalties, but some of them were effort penalties. We’ll grow from that.
“At times we were playing our brand of football but then at times there were untimely penalties and too many mistakes. They got too much pressure on Mason at times, but we’ll take a look at that and try to figure it out.
“We had some open things that we didn’t really capitalize on at times whether it be because of pressure, missed assignments … things like,” he said. “There were some things to build on and that’s what we’ll do. I told myself you’ve got to enjoy the wins and grow from them.”
Bixby’s 494 yards of total offense featured 313 yards passing by Williams, who completed 24 passes in 38 attempts and threw for three touchdowns.
Presley, bottled up much of the night, finished with 64 rushing yards on 14 attempts and two TDs. He added 102 receiving yards on four catches and one score. Zach Blankenship added 42 yards rushing on eight carries. Jackson Rogers had six catches for 38 yards.
With a few breakdowns, Bixby had several noteworthy defensive performances. The Spartan defenders limited Sand Springs to 83 total offensive yards in the first half – 10 rushing yards. Sand Springs ended with 232 yards of total offense and seven first downs.
Connor Stacy, a 5-10, 181-pound junior linebacker, made his presence known early, knocking down a pass attempt by Pennington, while being in numerous tackles.
“Coach just called a blitz and their guard didn’t block me,” Stacy said of the pass deflection. “The quarterback tried to throw over my head and I just hit it.
“We worked hard this week because we were a little irritated about last week. For the most part I thought we did our job last week, but we had some stupid busts that resulted in big plays which allowed them to stay with us on the scoreboard.
“We always feel good that we won the game … but I thought we could have played way better on defense. I don’t think we should have given up 20 points, like giving up the big run we gave up late,” noted Stacy, who was credited with four unassisted tackles and one tackle for a loss.
Against Sand Springs, senior Nick Wedel finished with 11 total tackles, five unassisted, while Beau Bertelli had 10 tackles – seven solos – and one sack. Jack Puckett had six tackles and senior Macqeilen Ware recorded two sacks.
NEXT GAME – Bixby remains on the road Friday, Oct. 23, visiting Muskogee in a District 2 confrontation at the Indian Bowl. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Muskogee, which lost at Bixby 63-21 in 2019, suffered a 26-10 loss at Choctaw last Friday night to remain winless at 0-6 overall and 0-3 in District 2 play. Quarterback Walker Newton scored the Roughers’ lone touchdown on a one-yard plunge while passing for 105 yards. Isaiah Givens was MHS’s top rusher with 77 yards on 28 attempts.
The Roughers of head coach Rafe Watkins have been saddled with injury problems. The 0-6 start is the first for a Muskogee team since 1920.
NOTABLES – Bixby, ranked No. 49 nationally by MaxPreps entering the game, extended its winning streak to 31 consecutive games. …With the three touchdown passes thrown against the Sandites, Williams has thrown 100 career touchdown passes. On the season, Williams is 116-for-171 passing for 1,422 yards and 17 touchdowns and has been intercepted three times. … Bixby was five-for-seven on fourth down conversion attempts against the Sandites. … Presley leads the Spartans in rushing with 852 yards on 106 carries and 13 TDs. He’s averaging 8.0 yards per carry and has four 100-yard plus games. Luke Hasz is the team leader in pass receptions with 19 grabs for 399 yards and four TDs. Presley has 34 catches for 397 yards and seven touchdowns.
‘D’ LEADERS – Through six games, senior safety Tanner Doyle leads Bixby’s defense with 53 total tackles, followed by Bertelli with 44, Wedel with 42, Puckett with 41, Stacy and Devonta Owens with 32 each and D. Hasz with 30 total stops.
DISTRICT STANDINGS – Bixby leads Class 6AII-District 2 with a 3-0 record, followed by Tulsa Washington 3-1, Choctaw 3-1, Ponca City 2-2, Sand Springs 2-2, Bartlesville 1-3 and Putnam City West
DISTRICT SCHEDULE – In other District 2 games scheduled Friday, Oct. 23, Booker T. Washington visits Ponca City, Choctaw hosts Sand Springs and Putnam West visits Bartlesville.