By Ron Holt
MIDWEST CITY – In a game featuring two of the state’s consistently successful teams – Class 6AII’s No. 1 Bixby and Class 5A’s No. 1 Carl Albert – there was abundant talent and athleticism on both sidelines Friday night. But the game’s difference maker wore a Spartan uniform.
Bixby junior tailback Braylin Presley erupted for 305 rushing yards on 25 carries and scored a career high six touchdowns in igniting the Spartans (4-0, 2-0) to a 56-14 non-district victory over Carl Albert (3-1), at the Titans’ Gary Rose Stadium.
Presley was a nightmare for Carl Albert’s defense – exhibiting his remarkable combination of speed, elusiveness and strength. He broke the game open early with his first touchdown and provided breathing room late with his final TD burst.
“Early we weren’t playing to our full potential, so I just wanted to go out there and set the tone,” the personable Presley said afterward. “I’m very proud of our team, all our linemen and tight end … everyone that blocked it up all game for me. I’m just amazingly proud. To come out and get it done against a really good Class 5A team was awesome.”
Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery was impressed with Presley’s performance. “It was an unbelievable ball game for him. He made some plays that helped us out and got some momentum going for us when things weren’t going well.
“He ran hard too. He had some great inside runs … the things no one notices like the three and four-yard runs,” Montgomery noted.
Bixby got untracked offensively on its second possession, thanks to a dazzling 41-yard scamper by Presley to Carl Albert’s 14-yard line. Presley scored from nine yards out and Connor Nolan kicked the conversion for a 7-0 lead at the 6:14 mark of the first stanza.
Presley capped off a 15-play, 80-yard drive, contributing a 15-yard TD as Bixby led 14-0 with 8:38 left in the second quarter.
The Titans, winner of the past four Class 5A state titles, narrowed the gap when senior quarterback Ben Harris hit a wide open senior Cobe Crew for a 52-yard TD pass play, making it a 14-7 game with 5:45 left before halftime.
Bixby responded with a one-yard TD run by Presley for a 21-7 Spartan lead with 3:24 remaining in the half. A 44-yard pass from senior quarterback Mason Williams to sophomore Cale Fugate, who made a diving grab despite being well covered, highlighted the drive. He was down at the Carl Albert one.
The Spartans, who out-gained the Titans 581 yards to 278, opened the third quarter with a lengthy drive ending in a 38-yard TD burst by Presley with 8:50 left, giving BHS a 28-7 lead. Presley split the Titan defense, broke a tackle and then out raced the hosts to the end zone.
On Bixby’s next possession, Presley erupted for a 68-yard touchdown run with 5:45 showing in the third frame. Nolan’s conversion kick extended the Spartans’ led to 35-7.
Carl Albert’s final offensive success came late in the third quarter, sparked by a 38-yard run by the Titan junior Kentrell Bizzell to the Spartan one. Senior Javion Hunt scored on the next play making it a 35-14 game with 3:23 left.
The Titans had an opportunity to trim the Bixby lead further when Presley fumbled the ball and Crews recovered at the BHS 13. Bixby’s defense toughened, led by senior Tanner Doyle knocking down a screen pass to the tight end on third down and sophomore Dylan Hasz tipping away a fourth down Titan pass.
Bixby’s offense responded after the defensive gem, going on a 92-yard drive which ended in Presley’s tackle-breaking 55-yard TD sprint for a 42-14 lead with 11 minutes remaining.
“That was a big stop down there.” said Doyle, a senior two-year starting defensive back who was credited with 13 total tackles, including six solo stops and three pass defenses against the Titans.
“I felt like if they would have scored it could have changed the game. I had a chance to intercept the ball on the screen to the tight end in the end zone but dropped it. I think we got used to their speed and ability
and did a better job in the second half. They were doing a few things we hadn’t seen but at half we adjusted. This shows we’re getting better.”
Back-up junior Zach Blankenship finished the offensive effort, scoring on runs of three and 31 yards for the final victory margin.
“Carl Albert is good, we pulled away from them, but it was a tough game. This was one of the most
complete teams we’ve played all year,” Coach Montgomery added. “They had a good plan, they’ve got a good quarterback, they’re well coached and have a couple of good tailbacks.
“Our defense had some really big plays. For them to bow their necks and turn them away after our turnover was big.
“We had a couple of young guys played well. Dylan Hasz had some really nice plays and also did a nice job fielding the punts. Cale Fugate had a diving catch to set up a score and had two or three big receptions,” Montgomery noted.
Hasz recorded his team-leading second pass interception this season – with 27 yards in return. It was a turnover that led to Blankenship’s first touchdown run.
“At halftime you find things you can do better and adjustments to make … we got better the second half. On the interception, we were in the cover two concept and the ball was there and I was glad to get it. That was huge,” said Hasz, a sophomore, who has recorded 24 total tackles through four games, including 10 solo stops. He’s also been credited with six pass defenses.
“Stopping them down near our goal-line late was good. And, then we scored after the defensive stop … it’s a blessing to have #1 (Presley) on our team,” Hasz added.
NEXT GAME – The Spartans host Choctaw (3-2, 2-0) Friday, Oct. 9, in a Class 6AII-District 2 battle at Lee Snider Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Choctaw won its second game in a row Friday night, edging Ponca City, 20-14, in a home district game. The Yellowjackets spent the non-district portion of its 2020 schedule in Arkansas, losing at Springdale (46-18), winning at home against Van Buren (28-10) and losing at Greenwood (23-12) before opening district play with a 26-22 win at Booker T. Washington.
Choctaw features 6-3, 190-pound senior defensive back/wide receiver Jordan Mukes, who is an
Oklahoma commitment. Yellowjackets’ Chase Jackson, a 6-2, 170-pound senior receiver who committed to Texas Christian, is lost for the season with a knee injury.
NOTES – Bixby has won 29 consecutive games. … BHS sophomore Cale Fugate had three catches for 73 yards to pace the Spartan receivers. … In other District 2 games Sand Springs topped Muskogee (45- 14) while Booker T. Washington downed Bartlesville (34-7). In other district games Friday, Oct. 9, Sand Springs (4-1, 2-0) hosts Booker T. Washington (3-2, 1-1), Ponca City (1-3, 0-2) hosts Putnam City West (0-3) and Bartlesville (1-4, 0-2) visits Muskogee (0-4, 0-1). … Carl Albert kicker Jacob Eddy was short on a 58-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half. …Through four games, Bixby kicker Connor Nolan averages 35.2 yards on 13 punts while he’s 27-of-27 on extra point kicks. He’s connected on his only field goal attempt.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS – Williams, who was 14-of-21 passing for 155 yards and rushed 10 times for 43 yards against the Titans, has thrown for 957 yards this season. He’s completed 77-of-108 passes while throwing 14 touchdown passes and one interception. … Presley leads the BHS ground attack with 65 carries for 635 yards and nine TDs. He averages 9.8 yards per carry. Junior Zack Blankenship has rushed for 97 yards and three TDs. … Presley is also the receiving leader with 25 catches for 267 yards and five TDs. Sophomore Luke Hasz has 11 receptions for 257 yards and two scores while senior Jackson Rogers has seven grabs for 122 yards and three TDs and sophomore Jakeb Snyder has eight catches for 117 yards and two TDs.
DEFENSIVE LEADERS – Tanner Doyle tops Bixby’s defense with 37 total tackles – 18 solo stops – and seven pass defenses. Junior linebacker Jack Puckett has 26 tackles and D. Hasz has 24 while Davonta Owens has 23. Connor Stacy has 22 tackles and linebackers Nick Wedel and Beau Bertelli each have 21 total tackles. … Puckett, who had eight tackles against Carl Albert, leads in sacks with four.