By Ron Holt

Starting with spring ball late this past school year, it’s now full speed ahead with summer workouts for Bixby’s Spartan footballers in preparation for the 2022 season.

Fall success begins in the summer. The Spartan philosophy is akin to the old saying: ‘Success only comes before work in the dictionary.’

Bixby football prospects are involved in a regimented, intense weight-training program, which is credited with contributing to the Spartans’ sustained success. Speed, Power and Agility (SPA) daily workouts, team camp, 7-on-7 passing leagues and tournaments are also on Bixby’s summer agenda.

Spring ball started in mid-May and ended with the spring game on Thursday, May 26, at Bixby’s Lee Snider Field, a week after school ended. Spring ball allowed Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery and staff to evaluate returnees and newcomers.

“I think we’re gaining on it,” coach Montgomery said following the spring game. “We’re starting to have some guys separate themselves a little especially on the offensive and defensive lines.

“We know we’ve got some guys that will be pretty good but now we’re finding out who are our best offensive linemen and who are the best defensive linemen and working to put those guys in the right position. Running back is a position we obviously need to have some guys step up with Braylin (Presley) gone. We’ve got a lot of guys who’ll have to step up.”

Bixby hosted a team camp June 1-3 with Enid, Glenpool, McAlester, Midwest City, Sapulpa and Springdale (Arkansas) Har-Ber joining the Spartans for the productive team event.

Players and coaches had the June 6-11 week off before SPA morning workouts began Monday, June 13, followed by Bixby hosting the Skordle Eastern Oklahoma 7-on-7 Showdown, involving large school and small school teams, on Friday, June 17.

Bixby was the large school champion with an 8-0 record while Cushing (5-1) was the small school champion. The Spartans defeated Broken Arrow (23-19), Springdale Har-Ber (44-12), Owasso (50-0), Bartlesville (36-2), Bishop Kelley (26-8), Broken Arrow 2 (32-12), McAlester (23-15) and Sand Springs (41-2).

Bixby 1 was in the large school division while Bixby 2 and Bixby 3 competed against small schools.

“I was pleased we won but we weren’t really clean especially early on,” coach Montgomery said. “We had some drops which you can’t do in 7-on-7. I think we got better and had some young kids play.”

Senior returnee Connor Kirby and senior move-in Austin Havens took most of Bixby’s varsity snaps at quarterback during the showdown with junior Clay Peters also seeing action. Senior defensive back Tyson Williams paced Bixby’s defensive effort during the showdown by intercepting four passes.

This is the fourth summer Bixby has hosted the Skordle 7-on-7 event. Coach Montgomery credits the Spartan staff for helping make the event a success.

“We’ve got such a good staff that knows what this should look like. Give Trevor Suffal (assistant coach) credit … he’s the one who has organized this event. The last two years this has been his baby.”

While the weekly 7-on-7 passing league is being held, Bixby also hosted the annual Eastern Oklahoma Offensive and Defensive Lineman Camp, Tuesday and Wednesday, June 21-22. The popular event attracted more than 500 high school line prospects.

BHS NOTEBOOK – The Spartans are scheduled to compete in a Vype 7-on-7 Tournament at Owasso Friday and Saturday (June 24-25) before being idle during the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association’s mandated dead period (July 4-9). … The Battle of the Burbs featuring a season-opening battle between Bixby and Owasso was announced at a press conference May 23. The game is scheduled Thursday, August 25, at the University of Tulsa’s H. A. Chapman Stadium. Owasso will be the host team in 2022 with the Spartans serving as host in 2023 in the two-year series. QuikTrip is sponsoring the event.