Prepared Spartans Blitz Jenks for Ninth State Title

By Ron Holt

EDMOND – “It was a good night … the coaches and kids prepared well, and we were ready to play. I’m super proud of everyone that’s involved in our program.”

Speaking was 14th-year Bixby head football coach Loren Montgomery following the Spartans’ 49-21 dismantling of Jenks – for the second time this season – in rolling to their second consecutive Class 6A-I state championship at Central Oklahoma’s Chad Richison Stadium here last Friday night.

It was a total team effort by the Spartans, who ended the season with a 13-0 record and captured the program’s ninth state championship in the past 10 seasons. Bixby, on a 16-game winning streak, amazingly won for the 74th time in the past 75 games.

Jenks hoped to become the first four-loss team to win state since Midwest City in 1988. The Trojans finished 8-5.

Offensively, Bixby amassed 512 total offensive yards, averaging 7.2 yards per rush, 14.5 yards per pass completion and converted six-of-10 third down opportunities. Defensively, BHS limited the explosive Trojans to 238 total offensive yards while intercepting two JHS passes and recording five sacks for 47 yards in losses.

Penalties, which were an issue at times for Bixby this season, weren’t a problem as the Spartans were flagged twice for 20 yards. Jenks, which had two personal foul penalties, finished with seven penalties for 65 yards.

The Spartans’ efforts and execution had to bring smiles to the faces of veteran Spartan offensive coordinator Tyler Schneider, defensive coordinator Rodney Flowers and the other dedicated assistant coaches. The list of Spartans making significant plays was lengthy.

“We played really well from the get-go,” said coach Montgomery. “The defense was crazy tough. They didn’t give up a point in the first half. The defense pinned their ears back. With the firepower Jenks has I thought we limited the big plays. Hats off to Coach Flowers and the staff and all our players for buying into the game plan and working hard to execute it.

“We have so many coaches who have been here for a long time, many on the ground floor or before. They work their tails off and try to put these kids in a position to win.”

Jenks also appeared ready to play as the Trojans drove the ball on their first two drives before senior defensive back Clay Peters intercepted JHS quarterback Owen Jones to stop the Trojans’ first drive and senior Sam McCormick ended the Trojans next threat with a pass interception off a deflected pass.

“The whole team was ready to play, we worked hard during practice. We played our butts off,” said McCormick, a Princeton University commitment. “We made a few halftime adjustments … we did a good job finishing it off.

“This one was definitely different for me going out and playing Jenks again. We knew they wanted to beat us since we beat them at their house. It was my last game … I couldn’t sleep last night. Losing was not an option,” he added.

The two defensive takeaways were followed by a Spartan scoring drive on their second possession.

Bixby took 28 seconds to drive 80 yards in four plays capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarter Carson Kirby to sophomore tight end Cord Nolan. Troy Nguyen’s conversion kick gave BHS a 7-0 lead with 5:56 left in the first quarter.

Spartan senior two-way standout Jett Turner ripped off runs of 36, 22 and 10 yards to ignite the initial scoring drive. “Jett was running so hard tonight,” coach Montgomery said. “He’s a phenomenal kid, a phenomenal back. He works his tail off every single day … he’s a guy you want in your fox hole.”

Jenks drove into Spartan territory on its next possession before a penalty and an incomplete pass – thanks to Owens being pressured by Bixby junior linebacker Cooper Parker – forced a Trojan punt.

Parker said being locked in was a key for the Spartan defense. “We knew we had to start off fast, last time we started off a little weak and were down at half,” said Parker, who ended with eight tackles, two for losses. “It’s always a good game between us.

“I’m really proud of our guys. Honestly, I think we have the best defense in the state. They are a good team … you can’t make any errors with good teams,” he added.

Bixby continued in quick-strike mode on its next possession which ended in a 44-yard TD pass from Clay Peters to Gouldsby with 2:44 left in the first quarter. The drive covered 58 yards in three plays, taking 58 seconds. Nguyen’s point-after kick gave BHS a 14-0 win.

Early in the second quarter, Bixby used a 14-yard pass from Kirby to Nolan, a 22-yard burst by Turner and a 10-yard pass from Kirby to senior Kordell Gouldsby to reach the Jenks’ two where Gouldsby ran for the TD. Nguyen’s conversion kick gave BHS a 21-0 lead with 10:58 showing in the second quarter.

Jenks’ ensuing drive ended after a 50-yard field goal attempt by Jack Franklin failed as Franklin slipped on the attempt.

Bixby appeared headed for another score minutes later as the Spartans used a 27-yard pass from Kirby to junior Blake Hogshooter and a 15-yard pass from Kirby to Gouldsby to reach Jenks’ territory before momentum swung to the Jenks sideline.

A Kirby pass bounced off Hogshooter and was caught by Jenks junior defensive back Sam Stone, who returned the interception 80 yards for a touchdown. Franklin’s point-after kick narrowed Bixby’s advantage to 21-7. The momentum was short-lived.

Gouldsby fielded the ensuing Trojan kickoff at the Bixby four, found daylight and broke numerous tackle attempts during a stunning 96-yard kickoff return for a TD and 28-7 BHS lead with 3:09 left before halftime.

“That was actually my first kickoff return this season. I just took the opportunity and ran with it,” Gouldsby said. “I did what I could tonight, and my team came out with the win, that’s all that matters. Our guys were able to step up one more time when it mattered the most … I’m proud of my team.”

That stunning turn of events allowed the Spartans to carry the momentum and a 28-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.

“That was an electric performance by Kordell,” coach Montgomery said. “We’ve always said Kordell was crazy hard to tackle and he showed that tonight. When he scored with the kickoff return after they scored … it was probably the biggest play of the game.”

Gouldsby enhanced his reputation as one of the state’s finest players. He rushed eight times for 63 yards and two TDs, caught five passes for 87 yards and two TDs, was 1-for-1 passing for 29 yards, returned two punts for 39 yards, returned two kickoffs for 116 yards and one TD while ending with 305 all-purpose yards.

Opening the second half, the Spartans used a 50-yard burst by Turner and a 29-yard pass from Gouldsby to Nolan in driving to the Jenks one-yard line where Parker scored on the next play. Nguyen’s kick increased Bixby’s margin to 35-7 at the 11:15 mark of the third quarter.

Jenks picked up two first downs on its next drive before turning the ball over when Jones was sacked on fourth down by Spartan defensive linemen Brandon Hobbs, Kason Hatley and Justin Kirk at the JHS 43-yard line. “All three of the defensive linemen were in on the sack, that was special,” said Kirk, a senior. “We got to work on our celebration … it feels great.”

Bixby took 1:40 off the clock in driving 43 yards in five plays as Gouldsby ran the final 20 yards for a touchdown and 42-7 lead with 6:33 left in the third stanza.

Jenks narrowed the gap to 42-14 with 2:31 left in the third quarter when sophomore running back Kaydin Jones ran six yards for the TD, capping off a two-play, 35-yard drive.

Bixby again responded, traveling 66 yards on 13 plays for a seven-yard TD pass from Peters to Gouldsby. Nguyen’s conversion kick elevated the Spartans’ lead to 49-14 with 9:53 remaining in the game.

Jenks ended the scoring with 4:15 left in the game when O. Jones tossed a 46-yard touchdown pass to K. Jones.

Turner, who moved to Bixby from Jenks where he played for two seasons, was motivated to play well against the Trojans. He ended his career in impressive fashion, rushing 25 times for 235 yards while playing both sides of the ball.

“I’m a little tired. I didn’t think I’d carry that many times. I was amped up playing against my old team, my old teammates,” Turner said afterward. “That plan was to come out fast and we did our thing. I give all the credit to the O-line. That’s the best offensive line in the state.”

Apparently, there’s mutual admiration between the offensive line and running backs. “We had a good night, but it wouldn’t happen at all without our running backs Jett, Cody (Crull) and Clay (Peters),” said senior Spartan standout offensive lineman Evan McClure. “This is what we’ve been working for all year, and we got it.”

Bixby’s balanced defensive effort featured eight total tackles each by Parker and senior linebacker Cody Crull. Crull had two tackles for 11 yards in losses while Parker also had two tackles for loss. Senior Hank Puckett ended with seven total stops and three tackles for 10 yards in losses. Yetxiel Perez, Brandon Hobbs and Colton Kaier each were credited with five tackles.

“We watched a lot of Jenks films this week, we had probably our best week of practice,” said Crull, who won a state championship ring playing for Bixby’s baseball team last spring. “Coach Flowers got us ready … he just told us: ‘when in doubt play fast.’ We played a really clean game with not many penalties.

“We eliminated the big plays, we shut them down. It was pretty awesome. This was the first time we’ve played them in the state championship, and I think everyone was ready to go. Jenks week is always big but playing them at state is even bigger. I got in on a lot of tackles … I left it all on the field for the last time,” a smiling Crull added.

NOTEBOOK – Senior Jett Turner (25 carries for 235 yards) became the fifth Spartan to rush for more than 200 yards in a championship game during Bixby’s 10 consecutive years playing in state title games. He joins Nic Roller, who ran for 233 yards and two touchdowns in the 35-21 win over Lawton in 2014; Tucker Pawley, who rushed for 236 yards and four TDs in the 39-31 win over Lawton in 2016; Cade Cavender, who ran for 222 yards and three TDs in a 34-13 win over Stillwater in 2018, and Braylin Presley, who ran for 206 yards and one TD in the 17-14 win over Choctaw in 2020. … Broderick Shull, a talented 6-6, 282-pound starting junior offensive lineman, moved to Bixby from Webb City, Missouri this season. “It was tough to move to a new school at first. I was mainly a D-line player over there and I had to make the switch to the offensive line here,” Shull said after visiting with family following the game. “It took me a couple of weeks to know the plays and know the techniques I needed. I’m glad I moved now and glad to have one more year.” … Jenks was led offensively by Kaydin Jones, who rushed for 120 yards and one TD, and quarterback Owen Jones, who passed for 139 yards and one TD. Corey Foreman had six pass receptions for 77 yards. Senior linebacker Jett Calmus led JHS defensively with nine total tackles. … Spartan captains were seniors Hank Puckett, Brody Duffel, Jett Turner and Sam McCormick. … Impressively, Bixby also finished as the Class 6A-I Academic State Champions for the second season in a row.

Bixby 49, Jenks 21


BHS – Cord Nolan 12 pass from Carson Kirby (Troy Nguyen kick), 5:56

BHS – Kordell Gouldsby 44 pass from Clay Peters (Nguyen kick), 2:44


BHS – Gouldsby 2 run (Nguyen kick), 10:58

JHS – Sam Stone 80 pass interception return (Jackson Franklin kick), 3:24

BHS – Gouldsby 96 kickoff return (Nguyen kick), 3:09


BHS – Cooper Parker 1 run (Nguyen kick), 10:58

BHS – Gouldsby 20 run (Nguyen kick), 6:33

JHS – Kaydin Jones 6 run (Franklin kick), 2:31


BHS – Gouldsby 7 pass from Peters (Nguyen kick), 9:53

JHS – K. Jones 46 pass from Owen Jones (Franklin kick), 4:15

2024-02-15T18:29:24+00:00December 3rd, 2023|

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