By Ron Holt
NORMAN – Struggling to find early offensive success after falling behind for only the second time this season, unbeaten Bixby erupted for 35 second quarter points propelling the top-ranked Spartans to an important 63-7 Class 6AI-District 1 victory over Norman North here last Friday night.
A large Harve Collins Stadium crowd watched Bixby improve to 4-0 but more importantly start the district campaign 1-0. The Spartans extended their 11-man state record winning streak to 53 games. Seventh-ranked Norman North, which played without injured senior running back Chapman McKown, an Oklahoma commitment, fell to 2-2 and 0-1.
“We’ll take it,” Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery said afterward. “We know they were a little hamstrung having their running back out, he’s really good. I’m pleased with our performance, but we got a few things to clean up. At times, we played well.
“Norman North had some good schemes, and they were trying to be sound But, we were glad to get the first district win. I thought we played really good defense and executed really well at times.”
The first two times Bixby had the ball those two possessions ended in punts by Levi Hoffman. In between the two punts, the Timberwolves put together their lone scoring drive as 6-3 senior quarterback Kamden Sixkiller tossed a screen pass to 6-0 senior wide receiver Brayden Dorney for a 54-yard touchdown with 7:51 showing in the first quarter.
Bixby’s offense came to life after forcing a Norman North punt, starting a drive from its own 46-yard line with 4:33 showing in the opening stanza. A 20-yard pass from senior quarterback Connor Kirby to senior Cale Fugate and Kirby’s 27-yard burst up the middle gave BHS a first down at the NNHS seven.
Two plays later, senior running back Jersey Robb scored from two yards out and Hoffman converted the extra point kick, tying the game at 7-all at the 3:47 mark.
“I don’t think running the ball was the main part of our game plan because we have a lot of guys who can contribute,” said Robb, who finished with 82 yards rushing on 13 carries and two touchdowns. “We had a few busts early, but you’ve just got to have a short memory.”
Robb gave the Spartans the lead at 14-7 with a one-yard rush with 11:23 showing in the second quarter. The drive began after a 15-yard penalty on Norman North for a hit preventing punt returned Tyson Williams from fielding the punt.
“We got a lot of good plays out of Jersey Robb. He was extremely effective,” coach Montgomery said. Bixby’s fast-paced approach took over after Spartan Ethan Williams recovered a fumble by the
Timberwolves’ Carson Samson at the North 29-yard line. A seven-yard touchdown run by Kirby and Hoffman’s extra point kick extended the visitors’ lead to 21-7 with 8:25 left before halftime.
The onslaught continued with a pair of one-play drives. With 7:10 remaining, Kirby out-ran the North defenders for a 71-yard TD and 28-7 Spartan lead.
Bixby later recovered another North fumble at the Spartan 39-yard line. Kirby passed to Kordell Gouldsby, who crisscrossed the field before bursting up the middle for a 61-yard touchdown and 35-7 Spartan lead with 3:29 remaining in the opening half.
Bixby took three plays to finish off the second quarter barrage whem quarterback Austin Havens hit senior tight end Luke Hasz for a 22-yard TD pass play. Hoffman’s point-after kick lifted the Spartans to a 42-7 halftime lead with 1:04 showing.
In the third quarter, Havens and senior wide receiver Jakeb Snyder for a two-yard TD, increasing the Spartan lead to 49-7 at the 6:48 mark of the third period. Bixby closed out the game with an eight-yard TD run by Gouldsby and a 17-yard TD scamper by sophomore Bode Cairl both in the fourth quarter. Bixby’s offense had another productive outing, finishing with 539 total offensive yards, including 340 rushing yards. The Spartans averaged 8.7 yards per attempt. Bixby also had no turnovers and was only flagged three times.
Kirby, the Spartans’ leading rusher, had his most productive rushing outing this season. He carried the ball 10 times for 136 yards and a pair of TDs. Through four games, Kirby has 316 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
“We got out a little slow, but they are a well-coached team. They had some answers for some of the things we tried,” Kirby said. “We had a bunch of big plays … our line did a great job blocking up front. I thought we ran it well tonight. Jersey and Jett (Turner) run it well and they won’t go down.”
Brenden Burns, Bixby’s 6-3, 240-pound senior starting center, was also proud of the running game success. “That’s an emphasis every week, to run the ball hard with tempo,” he said. “Our run game is awfully good.
“I was a little worried at the beginning because we had a slow start. I knew if we got dialed in, we’d be alright. As a line, I feel we’re getting better every week.”
Bixby’s defense also deserves credit for stifling the Timberwolves following the hosts’ early success. Norman North ended with 170 yards of total offense, lost two fumbles, was limited to six first downs and forced to punt 11 times for a 36.5-yard average per punt.
“It definitely wasn’t one of our best games. We weren’t as physical as we should have been,” said senior strong safety Dylan Has, who was glad to be back on the field after being sidelined with an injury. “You can’t ever be satisfied … we’ve got a lot to improve on.”
NEXT GAME – Bixby returns home Friday, Sept. 30, to host the Southmoore SaberCats in a Class 6AI- District 1 game at Lee Snider Stadium. Kickoff for Bixby’s Homecoming Game is set for 7 p.m. with homecoming festivities held prior to kickoff.
Southmoore is 0-4 overall after starting district play last Thursday with a 63-7 home turf loss to Broken Arrow. This season, Southmoore opened with a 28-14 road win at Putnam City North before falling to Mustang (51-26), Edmond Memorial (35-12) and Broken Arrow, all at home.
Southmoore, 0-10 last season, is averaging 18.25 points per game while allowing 42.25 points an outing. NOTEBOOK – Bixby was ranked No. 53 nationally by MaxPreps entering the week. … Amazingly, Norman North was 0-for-13 on third down attempts and 0-for-1 on fourth down attempts. … In the first three games this season Bixby punted five times. Against the Timberwolves, the Spartans punted four times. … Bixby’s balanced attack is averaging 480.8 total offense a game while also averaging 59.5 points an outing. The Spartans have limited four opponents to six points a game. … Spartan senior linebacker Hank Puckett paced Bixby’s defensive effort with seven tackles, six unassisted, and two tackles for loss. Senior free safety Cale Fugate was credited with six tackles, three unassisted. Defensive tackle Kason Hatley and senior safety Jakeb Snyder each had four tackles. Snyder had two unassisted stops and Hatley had two tackles for loss. … Puckett leads Bixby in tackles with 38 total tackles. He also has seven tackles for loss and two sacks.
ON THE AIR – Bixby Spartan games are broadcast by The Sports Animal, 97.1-FM, with Shawn Tiemann providing the play-by-play and Mark Wozniak handling the color commentary. The Loren Montgomery Coaches Show is aired at 6 p.m. every Tuesday from Doc’s Country Mart.
SPARTAN OPPONENTS – In other Friday games involving Bixby opponents in 2022, Union won 35- 17 at Owasso; Springdale (Arkansas) Har-Ber lost 45-17 at Bentonville; Muskogee won 48-26 at Sand Springs; Enid lost 55-28 at Jenks and Westmoore defeated Moore, 27-17.
In other District 1 games Friday, Sept. 30, Broken Arrow (1-3, 1-0) visits Norman North (2-2, 0-1),
Moore (3-1, 0-1) visits Enid (2-2, 0-1) and Jenks (3-1, 1-0) goes to Westmoore (2-2, 1-0).
BIXBY 63, NORMAN NORTH 7
NN – Brayden Dorney 54 pass from Kamden Sixkiller (Will Sutherlin kick); BHS – Jersey Robb 2 run (Levi Hoffman kick)
BHS – Robb 1 run (Hoffman kick); BHS – Connor Kirby 7 run (Hoffman kick); BHS – Kirby 71 run (Hoffman kick);BHS – Kordell Gouldsby 61 pass from Kirby (Hoffman kick); BHS – Luke Hasz 22 pass from Austin Havens (Hoffman kick)
BHS – Jakeb Snyder 2 pass from Havens (Hoffman kick)
BHS – Gouldsby 8 run (Hoffman kick); BHS – Bode Cairl 17 run (Hoffman kick)