By Ron Holt
Between the defense and special teams, Bixby’s offense spent little time on the field during the first half of the unbeaten Spartans’ 80-0 dismantling of visiting Southmoore in a Class 6AI-District 1 contest last Friday night at Lee Snider Stadium.
Top-ranked Bixby scored in all phases of the game, delighting a large Homecoming crowd while improving to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in district play. Southmoore dropped to 1-4, 0-2. The Spartans increased their 11-man state record to 54 consecutive victories.
En route to a 66-0 first half lead the Spartans benefited from two punt returns for touchdowns by senior Tyson Williams and two pass interception returns for touchdowns by senior safety Jakeb Snyder.
Bixby’s offense joined the scoring parade despite running only 16 first half plays, compared to Southmoore’s 38 plays. Southmoore also held the time of possession advantage – 19:12 to 2:48 – in the opening half.
“We didn’t run many plays the first half. The defense was good … we had a bunch of takeaways and a couple of pick sixes,” Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery said. “Tyson had three good punt returns, two going for scores so we were proud of that. We played well, but I don’t like the personal fouls. Our guys lacked focus a little.”
Southmoore’s opening drive was kept alive by Bixby penalties, a 15-yarder and back-to-back offside flags, before the Spartan defenders stopped the SaberCats on third and fourth downs, giving the offense possession at the Southmoore 45.
Bixby responded quickly as senior quarterback Conner Kirby hit senior Cale Fugate with a nine-yard TD pass. Kirby passed to senior Christian Kaiser for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 Spartan lead with 7:41 showing in the opening quarter.
Williams jolted Southmoore minutes later by taking a punt 72 yards for a touchdown with five minutes left. Williams dashed past a couple of opponents early in the return before being escorted by a trio of teammates as he raced down the sideline into the end zone. Kirby’s two-point conversion run boosted the lead to 16-0.
The Spartan defense got into the act during Southmoore’s next possession as Snyder stepped in front of a pass from SaberCat senior quarterback Conner Parrie and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown. Kaiser passed to Kirby for two more points and a 24-0 BHS lead at the four-minute mark of the first stanza.
Kirby and Fugate connected again on a six-yard TD pass with Fugate eluding one early defender before gliding into the end zone. Levi Hoffman’ point-after kick expanded Bixby’s advantage to 31-0 with 1:56 left in the period.
“It was good to get into the end zone this year, but we’ve got guys everywhere who can score,” said Fugate, who missed an early game this season because of an injury. “We treat every opponent the same, we don’t overlook anyone.” Fugate caught three passes for 32 yards, topping the receivers.
Williams, who finished with 171 return yards, burned the SaberCats again on their next possession, returning another punt 41 yards for a touchdown. Hoffman kicked the conversion as Bixby took a 38-0 lead into the second quarter.
“It was very exciting,” Williams said of the return game success. “I’m starting to like it … I’m getting used to it. This is my first year returning kicks. It’s another way to wear people down. Coach wanted us to score two or three touchdowns. The defense getting a shutout was exciting too.
“I love playing in front of a big home crowd. They give us so much love,” Williams added.
Another lengthy punt return by Williams gave Bixby possession at the Southmoore two-yard line. Senior Jersey Robb scored on the first play and Hoffman kicked the conversion for a 45-0 Spartan lead.
Snyder had a hand in the next two Spartan score – catching a seven-yard TD pass from Kirby and returning another interception 22 yards for a TD and 59-0 lead before Robb closed out the first half onslaught with an impressive 58-yard TD sprint with 3:55 left before intermission.
Bixby had scored a defensive touchdown in four straight games going back to last season before seeing the streak end at Norman North last week.
“Our goal coming in tonight was to score two touchdowns on defense,” said Snyder. “We wanted to get back on pace where we’ve scored more than we’ve given up. We went out there tonight with expectations to get that done and to get the shutout. We just want to improve every week.”
With the game clock constantly running in the second half, Bixby, which sidelined the starters in the first half, closed out the win with junior quarterback Clay Peters’ eight-yard TD run in the third quarter and 1-yard TD sneak in the fourth quarter. Casey Copenhaver kicked extra points after each TD.
Junior linebacker Hank Puckett paced the Spartans defensively. He was credited with 13 tackles, three unassisted. Robb ended with eight tackles from his linebacking post, including five solo stops and four tackles for losses. Freshman linebacker Cord Nolan had six tackles, four unassisted, and junior lineman Kason Hatley three tackles for losses.
Junior Sam McCormick, senior Cale Fugate and senior Michael Incremona each had four tackles while junior Colton Kaiser recovered a Southmoore fumble.
In recent seasons, the Spartans approached every game with a goal of playing well and improving regardless of the opponent. That trend continues this season.
“You don’t want to have a letdown that’s just frustrating,” coach Montgomery said. “You’ve just got to respect every opponent.”
Fugate added, “I think it’s because of our coaches … they hold us to a higher standard. We have a bunch of leaders on the team that keep us dialed in.”
Snyder agreed, “That’s our coaches. We don’t care who we’re playing … we don’t play down or play up to anyone. We just come out here and try to play the best we can. We want to improve every week. Get better every week and at the end it will take care of itself.”
NEXT GAME – The Spartans travel to Enid Friday, Oct. 7, to battle the improved Plainsmen (3-2, 1-1) in a District 1 contest at D. Bruce Selby Stadium, 801 W. Iowa Ave. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Enid, coached by former Oklahoma State All-America receiver Rashaun Woods, returned to the win column last week, celebrating homecoming with a 49-35 home victory over the Moore Lions. Enid moved into the Tulsa World’s Class 6AI rankings at No. 7 after the win over Moore.
Luke Rauh, a 6-1, 205-pound senior running back, led the Plainsmen as he rushed for 321 yards, scoring five touchdowns and running for a two-point conversion, according to the Enid News. He was also named Homecoming King. Enid’s defense forced three Moore turnovers.
This season, Enid lost the season opener at home against Muskogee (28-26), defeated Ponca City (32-20), won at Edmond North (34-17) and lost at Jenks (55-28) prior to toppling Moore.
“Rashaun is doing a good job at Enid. They were close against Jenks until late,” Coach Montgomery said. “We’ve seen them some since they come over to our team camp and things like that … they’ll be ready. Going on the road will be good for us.”
Bixby and Enid have played twice in recent years. The Spartans captured a 20-19 win at Enid in 2010 while the Plainsmen outscored the Spartans, 80-57, at home in 2011.
NOTABLES – Bixby was ranked No.48 nationally by MaxPreps last week. … Three Spartan quarterbacks – Connor Kirby, Austin Havens and Clay Peters – combined to go 10-for-11 passing for 83 yards and three TDs. Robb led Bixby’s rushing attack, which featured eight different ball carriers, by rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns on four carries. … Southmoore ran 50 offensive plays as compared to 34 for Bixby. The visitors also held the time of possession advantage, 30:16 to 17:44. … Bixby ended with 261 total offensive yards while limiting Southmoore to 65 total yards, including minus-22 rushing. … The 80 points Bixby scored were the most the Spartans have scored since scoring 81 in an 81-6 home win over Putnam City West last season. … Southmoore’s limited offense was produced by quarterback Conner Parrie, who was 11-for-25 passing for 87 yards and two interceptions. … Bixby’s last loss was at home against Jenks, 28-14, on Aug. 24, 2018.
BIXBY OPPONENTS – Scores last week involving Bixby opponents included: Mustang winning 27-17 at home against Owasso (1-4); Springdale Har-Ber (0-5) falling 41-39 at home to Rogers Heritage; Sand Springs (3-2) winning 25-21 at Tahlequah; Norman North edging Broken Arrow 57-50 at home in overtime (Thursday) and Jenks winning 28-22 at Westmoore.
DISTRICT 1 GAMES – Class 6AI-District 1 games Friday, Oct. 7: Norman North (3-2, 1-1) at Jenks (4-1, 2-0); Southmoore (1-4, 0-2) at Moore (3-2, 0-2) and Westmoore (2-3, 1-1) at Broken Arrow (1-4, 1-1).
BIXBY 80, SOUTHMOORE 0
BHS – Cale Fugate 9-yard pass from Connor Kirby (Kirby pass to Christian Kaiser)
BHS – Tyson Williams 72-yard punt return (Kirby run)
BHS – Jakeb Snyder 21-yard pass interception return (Kaiser pass to Kirby)
BHS – Fugate 6-yard pass from Kirby (Levin Hoffman kick)
BHS – Williams 41-yard punt return (Hoffman kick)
BHS – Jersey Robb 2 run (Hoffman kick)
BHS – Snyder 7-pass from Kirby (Hoffman kick)
BHS – Snyder 22-yard pass interception return (Hoffman kick)
BHD – Robb 58-yard run (Hoffman kick)
BHS – Clay Peters 6-yard run (Casey Copenhaver kick)
BHS – Peters 1 run (Copenhaver kick)