Spartan Spring Workouts Conclude in Spring Game

By Ron Holt

Normally, activities begin winding down prior to high school graduation ceremonies toward the end of a school year. That’s not the case with Bixby Spartan football.

Bixby weight training is a year around program. In fact, Spartan footballers returned to the weight room the Monday following Bixby’s weekend Class 6A-I state championship triumph in 2023.

For the past two weeks, Spartan football prospects were involved in workouts without pads from Monday through Friday (May 6-10). The intensity increased this week as the Spartans began workouts in pads on Monday (May 13) and will continue that schedule until the spring game on May 23.

Spring drills are an important piece of the puzzle for the Spartans, who take nothing for granted assembling the next team. The coaching staff is focused on installing base offense and defense while seeing which inexperienced players take a step forward. It’s always interesting watching new faces enter the varsity spotlight.

“The main thing we’re looking to find during our spring practices is who are the next guys that will take a step forward this season,” Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery said. “We have guys who got reps last season who will help us this season.

“We’ve got a few guys we’re trying to figure out what position to put them in,” he added.

Offensively, Bixby has numerous key positions to replace but fortunately the pivotal quarterback position isn’t on that list as junior-to-be Carson Kirby returns after taking most of the 2023 snaps.

The Spartans were lethal and balanced offensively in 2023, averaging 58.7 points per game. In addition, BHS finished with 3,088 yards and 46 touchdowns passing and 3,113 yards and 46 TDs rushing.

“Our biggest thing is that we want to install our base offense with all the young kids we have, making sure they know all of that. With our older kids we’re taking some ideas our offensive staff came up with and testing them out in the spring … finding which one would be worth carrying into the summer and fall and which ones are not,” said Tyler Schneider, Bixby’s veteran offensive coordinator.

“We’ll still be running our base stuff, but we just want a look at some of the new wrinkles. We’ll also be trying to determine our identity since we lost a lot of players.,” he noted.

“We move some guys around in different spots. We’ve got some new faces and we’ve got to figure out if they can play football and find out what our strength is going to be.

“Last year our offensive line was really good. This year we’ll have a good offensive line it’ll just look different. I think Broderick (Shull) is the only player we’ve got back on the offensive line, but we’ll have some guys able to fill in.

“One guy who has stepped up and is doing a really good job is Matt Helton (junior-to-be). Beckham Hooper (upcoming senior) played tight end last year and he’s moving down to guard. He’s put on some weight and moves really well. He’s smart. We’ll have eight or nine guys to find our starting five.

“And we’ve had a couple of wide receivers who have stepped up,” he said.

Defensively, Bixby overcame inexperience early to develop into a solid, talented, hard-nosed unit that significantly contributed to the Spartans 2023 success. BHS also has numerous spots to fill on defense. In 2023, Bixby’s defense finished with 44.5 sacks, 26 pass interceptions and held the opponents to 12.2 points per game with five opponents scoring in single digits.

“We want to get all our base stuff in and honestly we want the guys to learn those things and get through it all healthy,” long-time Spartan defensive coordinator Rodney Flowers said. “We try to be as basic as we can and get as many of the base concepts to the kids and build on that each day.

“The kids are flying around and it’s so much fun. We’ve got a lot of new faces out there running around… it’s the first time having my son (Kaiden) out there. That’s one of the most special things you can imagine. We have a great staff on both sides of the football, and I have no doubt he’s going to be coached,” he said.

“We have one returning starter, but we have a lot of guys with tons of reps. I can’t tell you how many times we had guys unable to play but we had guys step up … that’s kind of the philosophy here. We have a lot of guys playing both ways. They’ve got to be ready, so we try to give them a lot of reps in the spring,” he added.

SPRING GAME – For the second straight year, Bixby strives for a festive, entertaining atmosphere while getting all the players involved during the spring game, set for 6 p.m. Thursday (May 23) at Lee Snider Stadium.

Former Spartan assistant football coach Mark Wozniak, the color commentator on Bixby radio broadcasts, returns to provide commentary during the evening.

“We want the kids to have fun in the spring game,” coach Montgomery said. “We’re going to have food trucks and have the video board going. It should be fun.

“We’ll divide the kids to even teams and the value in that is that some guys who maybe didn’t have to make a play or a third down stop before, now all of a sudden, they have the pressure of making a play to help their team.

“It won’t be the best football because we’ll match different groups but it’s going to be a good time,” he added.

Fans attending the game are asked to contribute a case of Gatorade to the Spartan program.

SUMMER PLANS – Following the spring game, Spartan coaches and footballers begin a busy summer of activities. Bixby hosts a team camp, starting Tuesday, May 28. Teams attending are East St. Louis (Illinois), Midwest City, Edmond Memorial, Lawton and Tulsa Union. BHS will have four teams in the camp.

Bixby hosts passing leagues every Monday and Tuesday, starting June 10, and the Spartans plan to participate in the first Cowboy Clash at Oklahoma State’s practice field and indoor facility on Saturday, June 15. The Spartans will again host the Skordle 7-on-7 Tournament on Friday, June 21.

The popular Eastern Oklahoma OL-DL Camp, which attracted more than 600 linemen last summer, is scheduled at Bixby Tuesday and Wednesday, June 18-19.

2024-05-17T14:20:17-05:00May 17th, 2024|

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