By Ron Holt
ENID – Likely, this was the most unimaginable, historic start to a game for Bixby High School’s football program.
Before Bixby’s offense ran a play, Spartan special teams scored touchdowns returning the opening kickoff, on a botched punt attempt and with a punt return.
The 21-point surge paved the way for the unbeaten Spartans 77-14 Class 6AI-District 1 victory over the improved Enid Plainsmen at windswept, chilly D. Bruce Selby Stadium here last Friday night.
Top-ranked Bixby (6-0 overall and 3-0 in district play) increased its 11-man state record winning streak to 55 consecutive games. Enid dropped to 3-3 and 1-2.
After winning the pre-game coin toss, Enid opted to kick off to the Spartans, deferring to the second half.
Bixby senior Jakeb Snyder opted to return the kick, going 90 yards for a touchdown 13 seconds into the game. The Spartans’ two-point conversion failed, giving the visitors a 6-0 lead with 11:47 showing in the first quarter.
Enid was forced to punt on its initial offensive possession. But the snap was low and mishandled before Bixby freshman Cord Nolan scooped and scored from seven yards out. Senior Connor Kirby ran for the two-point conversion and 14-0 BHS lead.
When the Plainsmen’s next possession bogged down Aidan Robinson punted the ball away. BHS senior Tyson Williams fielded the ball after a bounce at the Spartan 45-yard line.
He encountered a crowd at midfield near Enid’s sideline, broke a pair of tackle attempts before reversing across the field and finding daylight down the Spartan sideline for a 55-yard touchdown. Levi Hoffman’s point-after kick gave BHS a 21-0 lead at the 7:41 mark of the first quarter. It was Williams third punt return for a TD this season.
Bixby’s special teams struck again in the second quarter when junior Kordell Gouldsby returned an Enid kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown.
“The play of the special teams is awesome. I was super proud of those guys,” Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery said afterward.
The special teams picked up where it left off last week after returning two punts for touchdowns – along with two pass interceptions for TDs – in the home win over Southmoore. Last week, Southmoore won the time of possession statistic 30:16 to 17:44. Enid won the time of possession last Friday 32:35 to 14:59.
When asked after the Enid win if he had ever seen anything like what the special teams did tonight, senior tight end Luke Hasz said, “Last week. As an offense we just want to get out there and play but they are doing a great job.”
“These kids have done such a great job of preparing, they execute what we ask them to do,” said Bixby assistant Trevor Suffal, the special teams’ coordinator. “Guys like Tyson Williams, Jakeb Snyder and Kordell Gouldsby … you put those guys back there and get the ball in their hands and they’re going to score.
“The guys have also done a really good job of blocking … guys like Cody Crull and Jett Turner are making big-time blocks. They’ve bought in and done a great job. It’s been awesome to watch …it’s awesome when you can turn special teams into points,” coach Suffal added.
Bixby’s offense entered the field for the first time with 6:13 left in the opening stanza and needed one play to get on the scoreboard as Kirby connected with senior receiver Cale Fugate for a 47-yard touchdown pass. Hoffman’s conversion kick created a 28-0 lead.
Enid reached the scoreboard early in the second quarter. Facing a fourth-and-10 at Bixby’s 15-yard-line, EHS executed a trick play with quarterback Bennett Percival pitching the ball to Brock Slater, who fired a pass to standout running back Luke Rauh for a 15-yard TD, narrowing the Spartans’ lead to 28-7 with 11:06 showing.
Bixby wasted little time responding as senior running back Jersey Robb broke several tackle attempts before bursting free for a 35-yard TD and 35-7 Spartan lead. With 6:42 left before intermission, Kirby passed to L. Hasz, who steamrolled two would-be tacklers to complete a 53-yard TD pass play. Hoffman’s point-after kick extended Bixby’s advantage to 42-7.
The play before the touchdown, Hasz grabbed a short pass from Kirby but was quickly tackled. Did going down quickly anger you? “Yea it did, that’s why I was happy they came back to me. I wasn’t going to go down this time,” he said.
“I think at times we responded well tonight but like coach Montgomery said we definitely have some things to clean up. We can play clean football … we’ve done it before,” he added.
Enid hit on a big-play on its next offensive possession as talented Plainsmen receiver Tykie Andrews made an impressive one-handed catch of a Robinson pass for a 70-yard touchdown. Daniel Real’s conversion kick narrowed the deficit to 42-14.
Bixby again responded in rapid-fire fashion as Gouldsby returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown and 49-14 Bixby with 5:23 remaining before halftime.
Kirby ran eight yards for a Spartan score in the third quarter while Bixby ended the scoring on a five-yard TD run by Turner, a one-yard run by junior Karsen Rampey and a four-yard sprint by junior quarterback Clay Peters – all in the fourth quarter.
It was far from a clean game by both teams. Bixby overcame nine penalties for 95 yards and three turnovers to capture the win against the Rashaun Woods-coached Plainsmen, who played well in a loss at Jenks and a win over Moore prior to hosting the Spartans.
“They are very good and physical. The wide receiver No. 9 (Andrews) is a very talented kid and the running back (Rauh), we kept bottled up most of the night, but we’ve seen what he can do when he gets out in the open,” coach Montgomery said. “Coach Woods does a good job …he dialed up a couple of trick plays on us.
“I’m extremely disappointed in the number of penalties we had, there are penalties you get when hustling but jumping offsides, things like that, we did too much of tonight.”
Bixby’s defense forced Enid, which was penalized 12 times for 80 yards, to punt 10 times and limited the Plainsmen to 218 total offensive yards. Bixby’s Williams and senior strong safety Dylan Hasz intercepted passes in the game while Nolan recovered a fumble.
“It seems like it’s been a long time,” D. Hasz said of the diving pass interception, his first this season. “I just happened to be right there. It’s all a blur to be honest with you. I’ve been a little banged up but I’m shaking the rust off.
“Our team is playing hard and violent with a lot of energy. This was a good road game for us,” D. Hasz added.
NEXT GAME – Bixby hosts Broken Arrow Friday, Oct. 14, with kickoff at Lee Snider Stadium set for 7 p.m.
BA (2-4, 2-1), led by second-year head coach Josh Blankenship, routed Westmoore (2-4, 1-2), 31-3, on the Tigers’ home turf last Friday night. This season, the Tigers earlier lost at Bentonville, Arkansas (56-46), at home against Union (28-7) and Owasso (27-26), won at Southmoore (63-7) and lost at Norman North (57-50 in overtime).
This is the first meeting between the two teams since 2011-2013. In 2011, Bixby lost at BA 58-19 in the Class 6A state quarterfinals – Bixby’s first season in 6A. In 2012, Bixby lost at BA 41-7 while losing at BA 28-6 in 2013 when both teams were in the same 6A district.
“Broken Arrow is talented. Their backs are against the wall a little bit,” coach Montgomery said. “We’ll have to play well.”
Offensively, BA is led by 6-1, 190-pound sophomore quarterback Owen Jones, who has passed for 922 yards and seven touchdowns while being intercepted twice. Nate Jones, a 5-9 senior, paces the ground attack with 475 yards on 75 carries and five TDs while 5-11 freshman KD Jones has rushed 72 times for 474 yards and five TDs.
Sophomore Kayleb Barnett, a 5-8 sophomore, is the receiving leader with 24 catches for 372 yards and two TDs while 6-3 senior Kade Matthews has 21 receptions for 355 yards and three scores.
Defensively, the Tigers are led by 6-3 junior middle linebacker Lane Condry who has 43 tackles, 30 solo, three tackles for loss and one interception.
NOTEBOOK – Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, running for Governor of Oklahoma, participated in the pre-game coin toss prior to kickoff. … Eleven different Spartans scored against the Plainsmen. …. Aidan Robinson, Enid’s sophomore quarterback, passed for 166 yards and one TD while being picked off twice. Luke Rauh, who rushed for more than 300 yards against Moore and more than 200 yards at Jenks, was limited to 32 yards rushing on 18 carries. Senior receiver Tykie Andrews was Enid’s offensive leader, catching 11 passes for 127 yards and a TD. … This season, Bixby senior Tyson Williams has eight punt returns for 232 yards and three touchdowns. … Junior linebacker Hank Puckett leads Bixby’s defense with 57 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, two sacks and 13 quarterback hurries. Robb has 35 tackles with five tackles for loss. … Offensively, BHS quarterbacks Austin Havens was 12-of-18 passing for 138 yards while Kirby was 9-of-12 passing for 128 yards and two TDs. Robb rushed 11 times for 105 yards and one TD while L. Hasz caught four passes for 97 yards and Fugate caught six passes for 80 yards and one TD. … Entering the game, Bixby was ranked No. 23 by Stadium Talk, No. 35 by High School Football America and No. 51 by MaxPreps.
‘D’ CHART – Linebacker Jersey Robb led Bixby defensively at Enid with seven tackles. Linebacker Hank Puckett and defensive back Tyson Williams each recorded six tackles while Cale Fugate and Dylan Hasz each were credited with five tackles and Jakeb Snyder and Sam McCormick each had four tackles.
ON THE AIR – Bixby’s games are aired over The Sports Animal, FM-97.1 with Shawn Tiemann handling play-by-play and Mark Wozniak providing color commentary. Coach Loren Montgomery’s Coaches Show is aired on FM-97.1 at 6 p.m. Tuesday from Doc’s Country Mart.
BIXBY OPPONENTS – Bixby opponents results last week: Owasso (2-4) defeated visiting Edmond North, 30-16; Springdale Har-Ber (1-5) toppled Springdale High, 49-14; Stillwater rolled 58-7 at Sand Springs (3-3); Norman North (4-2, 2-1) won 31-21 at Jenks (4-2, 2-1) and Southmoore (1-5, 0-3) lost at Moore (4-2, 1-2), 70-28.
DISTRICT GAMES – Other District 1 games scheduled Oct. 14: Norman North at Southmoore (Oct. 13); Westmoore at Enid (Oct. 13), and Moore at Jenks.
BIXBY 77, ENID 14
BHS – Jakeb Snyder 90 kickoff return (run failed), 11:47
BHS – Cord Nolan 7 fumble return (Connor Kirby run), 9:45
BHS – Tyson Williams 55 punt return (Levi Hoffman kick), 7:41
BHS – Cale Fugate 47 pass from Kirby (Hoffman kick), 6:06
ENID – Luke Rauh 15 pass from Brock Slater (Daniel Real kick), 11:06
BHS – Jersey Robb 35 run (Hoffman kick), 10:22
BHS – Luke Hasz 53 pass from Kirby (Hoffman kick), 6:42
ENID – Tykie Andrews 70 pass from Aidan Robinson (Real kick), 5:37
BHS – Kordell Gouldsby 82 kickoff return (Hoffman kick), 5:23
BHS – Kirby 8 run (Hoffman kick), 8:14
BHS – Jett Turner 5 run (Hoffman kick), 9:43
BHS – Karsen Rampey 1 run (Hoffman kick), 3:39
BHS – Clay Peters 4 run (Hoffman kick), 2:23