By Ron Holt
CHOCTAW – In compiling a 5-0 start this season, Bixby’s top-ranked Spartans were focused, disciplined, tough, and physical. Here last Friday night the Spartans took physicality to another level. Dominating offensively and defensively from start to finish, Bixby raced to an early lead and didn’t take its foot off the pedal until the final seconds ticked away in a stunning 70-7 dismantling of second-ranked Choctaw in front of an overflow crowd at Bill Jensen Stadium.
Bixby (6-0, 3-0) capitalized on an offensive assault featuring 565 total offensive yards – 306 passing – and a relentless defense that recovered six fumbles and recorded four sacks in wearing down Choctaw (4- 2, 2-1) and turning a Class 6AII-District 2 game-of-the-week battle into a rout.
“I felt like our defense is extremely physical and we felt like it was going to be a physical game because they’ve got some good players,” Bixby’s 12th-year head coach Loren Montgomery said. “Our guys were geared up and came out ready to play and played extremely well. I was super proud our guys.”
Two of Bixby’s senior defensive standouts agreed with their head coach. “We hadn’t had to really play a physical game since Jenks. In all honesty I knew coming in I had to be laser focused on taking on those blocks,” said Miles Hill, who is having a productive season. “I think we were all on the same page. We all knew we needed to be physical … it showed very well tonight.”
Linebacker Jack Puckett added, “We had a great week of practice. We knew the opponent would be ready for us, so we dialed it up. We’ve got an identity about ourselves which we take a lot of pride in … everyone out there understands that. We put the work in.”
Choctaw opted for giving Bixby the ball first and it didn’t take long for the Spartans to make their intentions known. Senior tailback Braylin Presley scored on a 77-yard run on the game’ s first play. It was called back because of a penalty.
On the second play, Presley caught a slant pass from senior quarterback Christian Burke and went 70 yards untouched for a TD at the 11:32 mark of the opening quarter.
The Spartans used a four-yard TD run by Jersey Robb and a three-yard scoring run by quarterback Connor Kirby for a 21-0 lead with 5:19 left in the first quarter.
Choctaw rallied to get on the scoreboard with a one-yard TD pass from quarterback Steele Wasel to La’Trell Ray to make it a 21-7 game after one stanza.
In the second quarter, Burke connected with senior Preston Solomon for a stunning 73-yard TD and passed to junior tight end Luke Hasz for a 22-yard TD and 42-7 halftime lead.
Presley erupted for a 41-yard third quarter TD and the Spartans – capitalizing on late Yellowjacket mistakes – ended the scoring parade on a 22-yard run by Kirby, a 10-yard dash by Zack Blankenship and Camden McCrary’s one-yard run with 7:36 remaining.
Burke responded with an impressive performance, hitting on 17-of-27 pass attempts for 281 yards and three TDs. The Spartan offense featured a season-best performance by L. Hasz, one of the nation’s top recruits. L. Hasz caught seven passes for 86 yards and his first TD this season. He had multiple yards after catch.
“We prepared really great, we had probably our best week of practice implementing things and working on everything,” said Burke, who has thrown for 1,409 yards and 18 TDs this season. “I feel like we shocked ourselves. I made some mistakes personally and as a team we made some mistakes, but we’ll work on that and get better.
“I felt very comfortable. Every week I get more comfortable, trusting my arm and trusting my reads. Luke stepped up a lot in this game.”
Prior to Friday’s game, L. Hasz had 11 receptions for 143 yards and no scores. He was all smiles following the Spartans’ dominating performance.
“We had a great week of practice with Christian. We’re both kind of new here so we’ve been working on chemistry, and I think it showed tonight,” said L. Hasz. “I thought our defense did an amazing job, but I also knew our offense was going to put up some numbers tonight.
“I think the team that was most disciplined tonight ended up winning and that’s what we try to do every week. We had an amazing week of practice. It felt amazing … I was waiting for my first touchdown this season,” he added.
“Luke had a big game with several big catches,” Montgomery noted. “We’ve been moving him around to help get him open.”
Numerous Spartans turned in big-time performances against Choctaw on both sides of the ball. Presley, keyed on by Choctaw’s defense, responded with six carries for 64 yards and a TD, four pass receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown and completed his only pass attempt for 18 yards.
“Braylin does what big time players do, they show up in big games,” Montgomery said. “He prepares the same way every day. That was a shot in the arm, helping everybody’s confidence,” Montgomery said of Presley’s early TD.
Kirby led Bixby’s balanced rushing attack with 118 yards on 12 carries and three TDs while catching an 18-yard pass from Presley. He averaged 9.8 yards a carry and impressively out-ran Choctaw’s defense on a 57-yard scoring run.
“We had a good game plan going into it, but I never expected to win this much against a talented team like Choctaw,” added Kirby, who has 10 rushing TDs this season. “We were definitely very physical … I think we’re the most physical team in Oklahoma right now.
NEXT GAME – Bixby returns to Lee Snider Stadium Thursday (Oct. 14) for another tough District 2 battle against the improved Sand Springs Sandites. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Sand Springs (5-1, 2-1), under coach Bobby Klinck, suffered its first loss of the season last Friday as Booker T. Washington (5-1, 2-1) captured a 37-32 district win on the Sandites’ home turf.
Quarterback Ty Pennington led the Sandites, completing 14-of-27 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for two TDs. “Sand Springs is good … the quarterback is the real deal,” Bixby’s Montgomery said.
This season, Sand Springs defeated Sapulpa (53-26), won 34-13 at Tulsa Kelley, won at Shiloh Christian in Springdale, Arkansas (40-33), downed Ponca City (30-13) and won a 48-34 shootout at Muskogee prior to the Booker T. game.
Sand Springs dropped a 51-20 decision at home against Bixby last season. In 2019 (75-0) and 2018 (35- 0), Bixby blanked the Sandites.
DEFENSIVE LEADERS – Bixby’s defense had perhaps its most dominating performance last Friday with several defenders making an impact. Talented senior linebacker Puckett led the balanced effort with 10 total tackles, four unassisted. He also had two tackles for loss, two sacks and recovered a fumble.
Junior defensive back Tyson Williams was credited with seven tackles, four solos. Beau Bertelli, Connor Stacy, Miles Hill and Jakeb Snyder each had six tackles with Hill credited with three tackles for loss and a sack.
Senior Preston Solomon had five tackles and recovered a fumble while Dylan Hasz had five tackles, all unassisted. Brady Gresham also recovered a fumble. This season, Bixby’s defense has recorded 25.5 total sacks.
NOTES – Bixby’s winning streak is now 42 straight games, tying Ada for second in state history. Wagoner’s 48 straight wins is tops in the state. … The Spartans were ranked No. 21 nationally by
MaxPreps last week but should rise in the national rankings after the Choctaw romp. … In the past three district games, Bixby has outscored the opponents, 222-13, averaging 74 points per game. … Choctaw lost six fumbles and the Yellowjackets were penalized nine times for 65 yards – including several offsides penalties. CHS was 5-for-13 on third down attempts and 0-4 on fourth down attempts while Bixby was 7- for-14 on third down conversions and 3-for-4 on fourth down conversions. … Choctaw quarterback Steele Wasel was 17-for-29 passing for 162 yards and one TD while Ray rushed 13 times for 73 yards. … Sand Springs’ last win over Bixby was a 20-0 home field win in the 2015 regular season finale. The two later met in the 2015 Class 6AII State Championship Game at Union with Bixby claiming a 38-28 victory for its second state title. … Bixby had no turnovers at Choctaw while the Spartans punted for the first time in three games. BHS kicker Connor Nolan was 10-for-10 on extra points while punting twice for a 35-yard average at Choctaw.
ON THE AIR – Bixby’s home game with Sand Springs Thursday can be heard over The Sports Animal,
97.1 FM with Shawn Tiemann providing play-by-play commentary and Mark Wozniak the color analysis. The pre-game show starts at 6:30 p.m.
Tiemann also hosts the weekly Loren Montgomery Coaches’ Show at 6 p.m. Tuesdays at Doc’s Country Mart. The coaches’ show is also aired over 97.1 FM. Bixby Coaches Replay Show can be seen on Cox Channel 3 at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.
DISTRICT 2 –In other District 2 games last Friday, Muskogee defeated Bartlesville (49-14) and Ponca City rolled to a 43-6 win at Putnam City West. In district game Thursday, Choctaw visits Muskogee (2-4, 2-1), Bartlesville (1-5, 0-3) travels to Ponca City (2-4, 1-2) and Booker T. Washington visits Putnam City West (0-6, 0-3).
NON-DISTRICT FOES – Results for Bixby’s non-district opponents last Friday included Jenks (5-1) rolling past Norman, 49-21); Stillwater romping 56-6 at U. S. Grant and Mansfield (Texas) Timberview blanking University High of Waco, Texas, 76-0.