By Ron Holt
Overcoming momentum-draining penalties, Bixby’s unbeaten Spartans turned in another solid offensive and defensive effort in celebrating Senior Night with a 68-5 Class 6A-I District 1 victory over No. 8 Moore at Lee Snider Stadium last Friday night.
Class 6A-I’s top-ranked Spartans improved to 9-0 overall and to 6-0 in the district. The Spartans have won 70 of their past 71 games, including 12 in a row. Moore dropped to 4-5 and to 1-5.
With No. 5 Jenks (6-3, 5-1) capturing a 42-14 win at Broken Arrow last Friday, the stage is set for a
district showdown Friday (Nov. 3) when the Spartans visit Jenks in the regular season finale. Kickoff at Allen Trimble Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. It’s the state’s most anticipated game.
In last season’s regular season finale in Bixby, Jenks edged the Spartans, 38-35, snapping the hosts’ 58- game winning streak. BHS, however, knocked off Jenks, 28-14, in the state semifinals en route to its first Class 6A-I state championship.
“We’ll get their best effort, we always do. It’ll be a fun game,” Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery said. “We typically play pretty good at their place. We know them and they know us. We need a good week of practice.”
Bixby picked up steam in the second half in amassing 586 yards on total offense, 390 yards through the
air, in defeating Moore for the second straight season. The Spartans, however, were penalized 10 times for 88 yards which kept them from getting into an offensive flow early.
“We did some good things, but the penalties are just rhythm killers for us. The personal fouls and false
start flags were on us. It wasn’t our cleanest performance, but I thought our guys played fast and got after it,” coach Montgomery said.
Bixby wasted little time getting on the scoreboard as senior quarterback Clay Peters passed to senior Kordell Gouldsby in the flat and the speedy Gouldsby out-ran the Lions down the visitors’ sideline for a 41-yard touchdown. Cooper Parker passed to Cord Nolan for the two-point conversion and 8-0 lead.
Peters returned to the field after missing the past two games with an injury. “I was dealing with a
hamstring injury but I’m all good now,” said Peters, who was six-of-seven passing for 67 yards and one TD while rushing five times for 33 yards. “We had some good things happen tonight and we also had
some things we need to cleanup. Penalties were big on us … they are drive killers.”
A 16-yard Lion punt set up Bixby’s next possession at the MHS 42-yard line. The drive stalled at the Lions’ 17-yard line when Spartan senior kicker Troy Nguyen booted a 35-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the first half for an 11-0 lead. It was Nguyen’s first field goal in two attempts this season.
Senior Jett Turner capped off Bixby’s next drive, scoring from six yards out. Parker ran for the two-point conversion for a 19-0 lead. The drive was highlighted by a 40-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Carson Kirby to Nolan near Moore’s end zone.
Moore’s 5-7, 140-pound senior kicker Liam Evans, who is committed to Oklahoma, got the Lions on the scoreboard with a 52-yard field goal with 3:28 showing before halftime. Bixby extended its lead to 33-3 starting with a 24-yard TD pass from Kirby to Blake Hogshooter and conversion run by Parker. The drive was highlighted by a 29-yard pass from Kirby to senior Yetxiel Perez. Parker ended the first half scoring with a one-yard TD run as Bixby led 33-3.
Bixby kept applying the pressure in the third quarter, ending its first possession with a 57-yard, tackle- breaking touchdown run by Turner and a conversion kick by Nguyen for a 40-3 lead at the 11:20 mark of the third quarter.
Gouldsby returned a Lion punt 50 yards for a touchdown and Nguyen kicked the conversion as the Spartan lead grew to 47-0 with 9:04 left in the third frame. It was Gouldsby’s third punt return for a touchdown this season.
With 5:16 remaining in the third quarter, Bixby found the end zone again this time on a 71-yard pass from Kirby to Nolan, who grabbed his fourth receiving TD this season. Nguyen’s point-after kick gave BHS a 54-3 lead.
“It was good to get untracked and get back into the swing of things offensively,” said Nolan, who had
been sidelined by an injury. “There are some things we need to clean up. We’ll need to have a great week of practice to get ready for Jenks with the district on the line.”
Bixby scored two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter – a one-yard run by senior Cody Crull and a 63- yard pass from freshman quarterback Barrett Standley to sophomore Nathan Gonzales. Moore ended its
scoring with a safety, tackling Spartan Trey Pawley in the end zone.
“The second half we cleaned things up but in the first half we had a lot of things go wrong,” said senior receiver-linebacker and team captain Sam McCormick. “As a whole I thought the defense played well … they have some good receivers. We just played our type of ball.”
DISTRICT FINALE – Jenks, coached by Keith Riggs, lost at home to Edmond Santa Fe (27-26) and at Owasso (34-28) before toppling Tulsa Union (31-24) in the final non-district game this season.
The Trojans won at Enid (45-0) before being upset at home by Westmoore (16-12) in district play. JHS won at Norman North (42-14), downed Moore (31-6) and rolled at Southmoore (40-7) before last week’s win at Broken Arrow.
Jenks has been led offensively this season by quarterback Owen Jones, a 6-0, 200-pound junior, and running back Kaydin Jones, a 5-11, 170-pound sophomore. Both played last season at Broken Arrow before moving to Jenks.
Bixby has won four of the past five meetings with Jenks. The Spartans routed the Trojans (57-7) at Jenks in 2019, defeated Jenks (42-41) in 2020 and won at Jenks (23-15) in 2021. The district champion earns a first-round bye in the state playoffs.
In the 2022 regular finale at Bixby, the Trojans led 17-14 at halftime and built up a 38-21 lead before the Spartans rallied behind two Connor Kirby TD passes to Sam McCormick and Cale Fugate, respectively, to get BHS within 38-35 with 50 seconds left.
The Spartans had an opportunity to corral an onside kick, but the Trojans knocked the ball loose and recovered to preserve the win. Jenks had 499 total offensive yards while Bixby ended with 498. Kirby
passed for 273 yards and four TDs and rushed 24 times for 167 yards and a TD. Gouldsby caught eight passes for 115 yards and a TD.
In the state semifinal game at Broken Arrow, Jenks led 14-7 after one quarter while the Spartans tied the game 14-all at halftime. In the second half, Kirby threw a TD pass to tight end Luke Hasz and ran seven yards for a TD with 9:30 left for the 28-14 margin.
Bixby had 404 yards of total offense while limiting Jenks to 266 offensive yards. Kirby was 25-of-32 passing for 221 yards and one score while rushing 26 times for 94 yards and a score. Senior Jersey Robb rushed 13 times for 66 yards and a TD while Hasz caught eight passes for 103 yards and a TD.
“Jenks is obviously a good team and they’re always coached up for us,” McCormick said. “We’ll be going into their place. It’s going to be a very exciting game … it won’t be hard to get ready for this game.”
NOTABLES – Bixby was ranked No. 43 nationally by MaxPreps entering this week. … Bixby captains for the Moore game were Sam McCormick, Hank Puckett, Brody Duffel and Payton Hawkins … The Spartans welcomed back three starters who had been nursing injuries. Seeing playing time against Moore were senior quarterback-safety Clay Peters, senior defensive end Brandon Hobbs and senior offensive
tackle Evan McClure. “It was good to have some guys back this week,” coach Montgomery said
following the Moore game. “They had good weeks in practice, so we wanted to get them a few snaps before week 10.” … Hard-nosed senior Jett Turner led Bixby’s balanced rushing attack with 134 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns against Moore. Carson Kirby was 11-for-16 passing for 260 yards and two touchdowns while Cord Nolan caught two passes for 111 yards and one TD. … Bixby and Jenks are first and second, respectively in the district race followed by Norman North (7-2, 4-2), Westmoore (5-4, 4-2),
Broken Arrow (2-7, 2-4), Enid (3-6, 2-4), Moore (4-5, 1-5) and Southmoore (0-9, 0-6). In other district
games last week, Norman North defeated Westmoore 30-14 at home and Enid won 46-28 at Southmoore. In a district game Thursday Broken Arrow visits Moore while on Friday Norman North visits Enid and Southmoore is at Westmoore, … Bixby’s game at Jenks Friday will be broadcast over The Sports Animal, FM-97.1 with Shawn Tiemann handling the play-by-play and Mark Wozniak providing the commentary.
‘D’ EFFORT – Bixby’s defense limited Moore to nine first downs, 1.3 yards per rushing attempts and 5.4 yards per pass while forcing the Lions into seven punts. The Spartan defenders pressured Moore
quarterback Maverick Gardner throughout.
Leading the balanced Spartan defensive effort was senior linebacker Cooper Parker, who was credited with eight total tackles, five unassisted stops and one tackle for a loss. Senior linebacker Hank Puckett had seven tackles, four unassisted, while senior safety Colton Kaiser had seven tackles, three unassisted. Sophomore defensive back Tyler Wright finished with six tackles, two unassisted, and a tackle for loss while sophomore linebacker Trey McGlothlin had four tackles, one solo, and one tackle for a loss.
Bixby senior noseguard Justin Kirk and senior defensive tackle Kason Hatley have been a disruptive presence this season, especially in recent games. They play key roles in the pressure Bixby applies to opposing quarterbacks.
“We’ve been working pass rush moves with coach (Kaden) Jackson daily, it’s one of the things we’ve implemented this year. We’re just working on our moves to get pressure to disrupt the quarterback. We want them to have to scramble” said Kirk, who is credited with 34 total tackles, a team-leading 7.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hurries.
“When I see the quarterback out in the open my focus is to try to tackle him. I feel like I’ve still got work to do but I’ve tried to work as hard as I can.”
Hatley, who has 27 total tackles, 11 unassisted stops, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and 10 quarterback hurries, added, “When you see a quarterback in the open you’ve got to go after him … you’ve got to make him uncomfortable. We had some penalties tonight that slowed us down, but we got the job done.
We’ll be locked in during practice this week for Jenks. It’s a rivalry, it’s fun stuff … and we love to compete.”
Bixby 68, Moore 5 First Quarter
BHS – Kordell Gouldsby 40 pass from Clay Peters (Cord Nolan pass from Cooper Parker), 10:02 BHS – Troy Nguyen 35 field goal, 1:37
BHS – Jett Turner 6 run (Parker run), 10:38 MHS – Liam Evans 52 field goal, 7:43
BHS – Blake Hogshooter 24 pass from Carson Kirby (Parker run), 3:28 BHS – Parker 1 run (run failed), 1:44
BHS – Turner 57 run (Nguyen kick), 12:00
BHS – Gouldsby 50 punt return (Nguyen kick), 9:04 BHS – Nolan 71 pass from Kirby (Nguyen kick), 5:56
BHS – Cody Crull 1 run (Nguyen kick), 12:00 MHS – Safety, runner tackled in end zone, 5:45
BHS – Nathan Gonzales 63 pass from Barrett Standley, 2:46