By Ron Holt
After meeting in the state playoffs for three straight seasons, including the last two Class 6AII state championship games, Bixby and Stillwater had scheduled a non-district regular season game for Friday, Sept. 18, at Stillwater.
It was a highly anticipated matchup between No. 1 Bixby and No. 2 Stillwater, both starting the season with 2-0 records and each recording wins over Class 6AI opponents. BHS and SHS have met in the state playoffs four of the past six seasons with the Spartans winning each time.
But, COVID-19 intervened. Stillwater Public School’s administration announced in a statement Monday, Sept. 14, that all extra-curricular activities at the school were canceled for Sept. 14-19 because of coronavirus concerns.
Located in a town which includes Oklahoma State University, positive COVID-19 cases were on the rise in Payne County. The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s color coding moved the county into the Red Level last Friday, which is the system Stillwater’s administration reportedly follows. Stillwater students have been distance learning the past two weeks.
Bixby was alerted late last week that cancellation of the game was a possibility so Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery and his staff prepared a Plan B schedule for Friday.
A limited Spartan roster will travel to Stigler Friday (Sept. 18) to play Stigler’s varsity in a game scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Stigler, ranked fifth in Class 3A according to the Tulsa World’s poll, is 3-0 on the season, winning at Sallisaw (25-0), at home against Adair (45-6) and at Eufaula (40-22).
“We were preparing just like we were going to play Stillwater, but we had heard there was a good chance the game might be canceled,” Montgomery said. “If that happened, we planned to take a junior varsity bunch to play Stigler’s varsity. There’s no other big schools that had an opening.”
The youthful Spartans impressively opened the 2020 season against two of Class 6AI’s perennial powers
– Union and Jenks – at home.
Bixby blanked fourth-ranked Union, 34-0, in the season opening Zero Week game before rallying past second-ranked Jenks, 35-28, two weeks ago. Union lost at Jenks (28-0) last Friday while the Spartans were idle.
“We had a good week of preparation and got some of our younger guys who had been beaten up in junior varsity games healed up,” Montgomery said of the Spartans’ off-week workouts.
BHS OFFENSE – In wins over two Class 6AI squads, Bixby has compiled impressive offensive statistics. Senior quarterback Mason Williams is 44-of-65 passing for 415 yards and seven touchdowns while being intercepted once. … Junior running back Braylin Presley has rushed 36 times for 300 yards and three TDs while leading Spartan receivers with 18 catches for 148 yards and four scores. He averages 150 rushing yards a game and averages 268.0 all-purpose yards. … Receivers sophomore Jakeb Snyder has six receptions for 72 yards and one TD while sophomore Luke Hasz has four grabs for 95 yards.
BHS DEFENSE – The Spartans’ inexperienced defense has been led by senior defensive back Tanner Doyle, who tops Bixby with 19 tackles. Junior linebacker Jack Puckett has 18 total tackles – 12 solo stops
– and leads the team with four sacks and seven tackles for losses. Sophomore DB Dylan Hasz has 16 tackles, senior DB Devonte Owens has 13 total stops and senior linebacker Nick Wedel has 10 total tackles.
NEXT GAME – The Spartans return home Friday, Sept. 25, to start 6AII-District 2 play against Bartlesville (0-1). Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Lee Snider Field. The Bruins are 1-1 on the season, defeating Claremore (34-10) before losing at Sapulpa (48-21). … In 2019, Bixby jumped out to a 37-0 first quarter lead en route to a 61-14 victory over the Bruins in Bartlesville.
NOTABLES – After defeating Jenks, the Spartans moved up to No. 19 in USA Today’s Top 25 national ranking of high school football teams. … Bixby is riding a 27-game winning streak. … Bixby’s junior kicker Connor Nolan is averaging 33.3 yards on nine punts through two games while connecting on 10- of-10 extra point attempts. … In other non-district games involving District 2 teams Friday, Sept. 18,
Bartlesville visits Collinsville, Booker T. Washington goes to Edison, Choctaw travels to Greenwood (Arkansas), Muskogee visits Coweta, Ponca City visits Ardmore, Putnam City North hosts Putnam City West and Sand Springs hosts Shiloh Christian (Arkansas).