Spartans Overwhelm Springdale Har-Ber, 75-18

By Ron Holt

Scoring on the ground, through the air, on defense and via special teams, Bixby’s Spartans settled the issue in overwhelming fashion early against visiting Springdale (Arkansas) Har-Ber, 75-18, last Friday night at Lee Snider Field.

A large crowd on Bixby’s annual Military Appreciation Night watched as Class 6A-I’s top-rated Spartans improved to 2-0 on the season. Har-Ber dropped to 0-2. Bixby, which led 68-0 at halftime last Friday, has won 63 of its last 64 games.

Bixby added a few new wrinkles to its extensive offensive playbook in baffling the Wildcats’ defense especially in the first half. The Spartans averaged 7.7 yards per carry rushing the ball and relied on a trio of quarterbacks who combined to complete 13-of-15 passes for an average of 11.3 yards per completion.

Defensively, the Spartan starters clamped down on the Wildcats’ offense, throwing a shutout until the visitors scored 18 points against Bixby reserves in the second half.

“I felt like our focus was a little better coming out, especially in the first half,” Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery said. “I thought we had some guys make big plays … we threw the ball a little better tonight and we had decent time to throw.

“We took advantage of a couple of things they did on special teams. The second half we had a bunch of young guys playing like last week … they just need to get better.”

It was a productive night for talented Spartan sophomore tight end-linebacker Cord Nolan, who caught two touchdown passes and returned an impressive pass interception 35 yards for another TD. He was credited with three pass receptions for 63 yards and two solo stops on defense.

“We’ve been working on that a bunch,” Nolan said of being a part of the passing game. “All of those

plays the coaches came up with … we watched a bunch of film. We thought it would be open, but I didn’t expect I’d be that open.

“This game showed us a lot about what we’ve been able to do with our pass game and run game … we’ve got a lot of options. We’ve worked our tails off on improving our running and strength during the summer. And obviously in practice we’re working on our hands catching the ball and running routes.”

Bixby’s first big play came on its first possession as senior quarterback Clay Peters went back to punt facing fourth-and-six. Peters, however, found daylight to the left and returned the fake punt 37 yards to the Wildcat 14.

Two plays later, senior Jett Turner ran in from a yard out for a 7-0 Spartan lead with 8:44 showing in the first quarter.

On the Spartans’ next possession, senior Kordell Gouldsby found a gap in the line to the right and raced 25 yards for a TD at the 7:38 mark of the first stanza. Bixby’s two-point attempt pass by Cooper Parker was incomplete, leaving BHS holding a 13-0 advantage.

Later in the first quarter, Peters passed to a wide-open Nolan, who outran the Wildcats to the end zone to complete a 38-yard TD pass play. BHS’s Parker was stopped short of the goal line on a two-point run as the Spartans’ lead grew to 19-0 with 3:08 left in the opening stanza.

The Spartans struck quickly on the first play of the second quarter as senior Garrett Vaughn hauled in a pass from sophomore quarterback Carson Kirby, ran through one would-be tackle attempt for a stunning 56-yard TD strike at the 11:49 mark of the second stanza. Troy Nguyen kicked the point-after for a 26-0 Spartan lead.

On Bixby’s next possession, Kirby went back to pass before scrambling through the line and down the home sideline, displaying breakaway speed from the nearest Wildcat defender for a 43-yard TD. Nguyen’s conversion kick lifted the Spartans to a 33-0 lead with 9:35 left before halftime.

“The first week was to get the first game jitters out of the way but this week we came out and dominated. The O-line did good blocking all night,” said Kirby, who was 10-of-12 passing for 97 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 43 yards.


“I’m getting more and more confident each week learning the game plans. We just try to get better each and every day,” he added.

Nolan entered the spotlight again picking off a pass by Har-Ber senior quarterback Braden Sprague and returning it 35 yards for a TD and a 40-0 Spartan lead with 9:04 left in the second frame.

A shanked punt by Springdale’s Sprague, which went for a minus eight yards, set up a 22-yard TD pass from Kirby to Nolan for a 47-0 lead.

Bixby’s special teams took center stage on Har-Ber’s next drive, which ended in a punt from the visitors’ 24-yard line. Gouldsby corralled the punt before maneuvering through the Wildcats en route to a 62-yard punt return TD with 5:26 left in the opening half. Nguyen’s conversion kick made it 54-0.

The Spartans weren’t finished. In the final 3:27 of the first half, Bixby scored on a 19-yard pass play from Kirby to Yetxiel Perez and a 19-yard burst up the middle by Turner. Nguyen’s two conversion kicks gave the Spartans a 68-0 cushion at halftime.

At the 12-minute mark of the third quarter, the Spartans scored their only touchdown of the second half as Kirby hit sophomore Braeden Presley who made numerous Wildcat defenders miss before breaking free

outside for an 11-yard touchdown – his first varsity TD – and 75-0 BHS lead.

Despite allowing 18 points late, Bixby’s defense showed improvement and recorded two takeaways – the interception by Nolan and a fumble recovery by Parker.

“I was pleased with the way we came out. We started fast defensive and just kept the hammer down for the first two quarters,” said senior standout linebacker Hank Puckett. “But it’s the same as last week … we’ve got to learn to finish games. We had a lot of inexperienced guys in there but they’re going to learn. “I’m really pleased with how we’re playing on defense right now,” added Puckett, who was credited with six tackles – four unassisted – and a sack.

NEXT GAME – Bixby travels Friday (September 8) as the Spartans wrap up non-district play at Sand Springs. Kickoff at Sand Springs’ Memorial Stadium is set for 7 p.m.

Sand Springs was idle last Friday after opening the season with a 63-53 home turf Zero Week victory over Sapulpa in the Highway 97 Rivalry game. The Sandites relied on a strong rushing game against the

Chieftains led by Kenneth Page’s 161 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Teammate Ali McCoy rushed for 144 yards and three TDs on 20 attempts.

Sand Springs was 7-5 last season, including finishing 4-3 in Class 6A-II-District 1. The Sandites suffered a 67-3 loss at Bixby in 2022. In the last eight meetings between the two teams, Bixby has won all eight, outscoring Sand Springs, 401-105. The last Sandite win was a 20-0 blanking of BHS in the 2015 regular season.

SPECIALIST – Spartan senior kicker Troy Nguyen is making his first appearance on Bixby’s roster and has been a pleasant surprise early in the season. So, where did Nguyen come from? “The soccer field … I was a soccer player and coach Montgomery saw me play in the playoffs against Jenks last year. I guess he saw me knock one far down the field and he told me later that I should come out for football,” the 6-0, 190-pound Nguyen said.

“I was nervous on the first kick last week (against Owasso) but once I got it to go in the nerves went away. I felt I was more consistent on my kickoffs tonight. I get more practice on this field … I know my way around it better.

“I’ve only been kicking five or six months … I didn’t know I could get to this point. It all started in the summer as I kept training and working in the weight room. I love it,” added Nguyen, who is 15-of-15 on extra point attempts and has boomed 14-of-17 kick offs into the end zone.

Bixby has had success with soccer players handling kicking duties. Reis Vernon, who graduated in 2020, is currently punting at the University of Kansas, while last year’s kicker-punter Levi Hoffman is on Northeastern A&M Junior College’s football roster.

NOTEBOOK – Eleven Bixby players carried the ball against Har-Ber while eight Spartans recorded pass receptions. … Bixby is outscoring its first two opponents, 117-34, as the Spartans are averaging 58.5

points a game. Through two-games this season, Carson Kirby is 20-of-29 passing for 253 yards and five touchdowns. As a team, the Spartans are 26-of-37 passing, completing .703 percent of their passes. … Kordell Gouldsby is Bixby’s rushing leader with 207 yards on only nine carries and a pair of TDs. Clay


Peters has rushed for 130 yards on 16 carries. Gouldsby’s 342 yards of total offense also tops Bixby. … Hank Puckett paces a balanced Spartan defensive effort with 29 total tackles, 17 solo. He has four tackles for loss. … Scores of Bixby’s 2023 opponents from last week included: Owasso 34, Jenks 28; Mustang 44, Southmoore 13; Enid 29, Ponca City 27; Union 27, Broken Arrow 17; Westmoore 54, Yukon 28, and Moore 31, Edmond North 28. Sand Springs and Norman North were idle. … In other Spartan opponent

games this week, Owasso hosts Broken Arrow, Springdale Har-Ber hosts Mustang, Norman North visits Edmond Santa Fe, Southmoore hosts Putnam City North, Westmoore travels to Choctaw, Moore visits Norman and Jenks entertains Tulsa Union. Enid is idle.

2023-09-07T19:47:10+00:00September 7th, 2023|

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