By Ron Holt
Regardless of records or recent outcomes, there is an air of excitement as Bixby’s Spartans, top-ranked in Class 6AI, prepare for a road trip to Norman Friday (Sept. 23).
Bixby (3-0) plays its first ever Class 6AI-District 1 game against an unfamiliar opponent – Norman North (2-1) – Friday at Harve Collins Stadium on the Norman High campus. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Bixby was the dominant program in Class 6AII since its formation in 2014. The Spartans have captured seven state championship, finished as runner-up once and won four 6AII titles in a row en route to launching a state record 52-game winning streak.
While the Spartans were idle last week, seventh-ranked Norman North saw its unbeaten record snapped in a 28-25 road loss to previously winless Yukon. The Timberwolves opened the season with home wins over crosstown rival Norman, 40-36, and Edmond Santa Fe, 28-20.
The unbeaten Spartans used their off week to allow for recovery from injuries while working to clean up issues encountered during their unbeaten start.
“We are starting to get healthy,” Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery said. “It’s our first district game against an opponent we have never faced. We are excited but understand Norman North will be fired up and ready to rebound.”
Turnovers and drive-stopping, touchdown nullifying penalties derailed the Timberwolves in their first road game of the season as Yukon, 1-2, capitalized to establish a 21-10 first half lead.
The Timberwolves battled back and had a late opportunity after Mason Pace returned a blocked field goal attempt 99 yards for a touchdown, narrowing the gap to 28-25 with 10:15 showing in the fourth quarter. Yukon, which effectively ran the ball throughout, held off Norman North’s comeback attempt.
NNHS quarterback Kamden, Sixkiller, a 6-3, 184-pounder, threw an early 63-yard touchdown pass to Cason Cabbiness and hit 6-0 senior wide receiver Brayden Dorney with a 13-yard TD pass play to pace the Timberwolves, who also received a 33-yard field goal from Will Sutherlin.
Norman North, coached by Justin Jones, found success running the ball in its win over Edmond Santa Fe. Chapman McKown, a 5-8, 170-pound senior running back, rushed 30 times for 147 yards and two TDs while Sixkiller was 14-of-21 passing for 207 yards.
Bixby has steadily improved this season while rolling to wins over Owasso, Springdale (Arkansas) Har- Ber and Sand Springs.
The Spartans have improved in all three phases – the offense is averaging 58.3 points a game, the defense – which has scored during each game this season – is limiting the three opponents to 17 total points and the special teams have produced with kickoffs into the end zone and two-for-two on field goal tries.
The two-quarterback system has been effective for the Spartans. Senior quarterback Austin Havens has passed for 446 yards and six touchdowns. His completion percentage is .786. Senior Conner Kirby has passed for 363 yards and five TDs while rushing for 180 yards and four touchdowns.
Senior running back Jersey Robb leads a balance rushing attack with 192 yards on 32 carries and three touchdowns. Junior Kordell Gouldsby paces the receivers with 11 catches for 244 yards and three touchdowns while senior tight end Luke Hasz has seven receptions for 137 yards and two scores.
Defensively, junior linebacker Hank Puckett is the leader in tackles with 31 total tackles, including five for loss. He also leads the team with two sacks.
NOTEBOOK –Bixby was ranked No. 54 by MaxPreps entering this week. … BHS averages 272.7 yards passing a game and 203 yards rushing per game. … Through three games, Spartan sophomore linebacker Cooper Parker has 16 unassisted tackles, followed by Hank Puckett with 13 and senior cornerback Jakeb Snyder with 12 solo stops. The Spartans have intercepted six passes this season with junior linebacker Sam McCormick leading the away with two thefts. … Norman North is averaging 30.3 points per game while Timberwolves opponents are averaging 28 points an outing. … Last season, Norman North was 7- 4, losing at Jenks (41-14) in the state quarterfinals. In 2016, the Timberwolves went 12-1, losing to Union (57-43) in the Class 6AI state championship. North defeated Westmoore and Mustang in the state
quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, to reach the finals. … Harve Collins Stadium is located at 911
- Main St. in Norman.
ON THE AIR – Bixby’s game at Norman North will be broadcast over The Sports Animal, FM-97.1 with Shawn Tiemann handling the play-by-play and Mark Wozniak providing color commentary. Loren Montgomery’s Coaches Show, hosted by Tiemann and featuring a Spartan player, is held at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays from Doc’s Country Mart.
OPPONENT SCORES – In games involving other 2022 Bixby opponents last week, Springdale (Arkansas) Har-Ber lost at Mustang, 41-13; Sand Springs defeated Ponca City, 48-25; Edmond Memorial won at Southmoore, 35-12, and Enid rolled at Edmond North, 34-17. Owasso, Broken Arrow, Westmoore, Moore and Jenks were idle.
DISTRICT GAMES – Class 6A-District 1 games Friday (Sept. 23) include Broken Arrow at Southmoore, Enid at Jenks and Westmoore at Moore.