By Ron Holt
When a team opens the high school football season during Week Zero, time is of the essence. Fortunately, Bixby’s Spartans have been in this situation in years past and understand the sense of urgency needed during preseason practices, which began around the state with non-contact work last Monday (Aug. 8). Practices in pads began last Friday (Aug. 12).
Bixby, Class 6AII state champions seven of the past eight seasons, begins its journey into Class 6AI against Owasso, the 2019 Class 6AI state champion, on Thursday, Aug. 25, at the University of Tulsa’s H.A. Chapman Stadium. QuikTrip is sponsoring the “Battle of the Burbs” which begins at 7:30 p.m. The Spartans of head coach Loren Montgomery have survived Week Zero openers recently thanks to the program’s strenuous off-season and summer workouts. Spartan prospects faithfully attend summer workouts.
Many years ago, high school football programs spent the first week of practice on team conditioning while also working on fundamentals and fine-tuning offensive and defensive systems. Bixby’s dedication to summer workouts, weight training and installing systems has been vital when playing early season openers.
“I feel good about where we are right now,” Coach Montgomery said after intersquad workouts last Saturday morning at Lee Snider Field. “It just seems like we do so much in the summer that you have a lot already in before you start practice.
“When I was in high school, workouts were optional, they would open the weight room and you could work out or not. Nowadays, our guys show up in shape because of team camp, 7-on-7 competitions and things like that. We’re fairly polished compared to the old days,” he said.
Bixby, which has around 100 players in the program, progressed as a team during the opening week and will continue seeking preseason efficiency in preparation for the annual Bixby Fall Classic scrimmages Thursday and Friday.
“What’s important now is techniques and detail work. I’ve been pretty pleased. I think we are going to have pretty good players … we’ll have some new faces like you always have each year. We’ve got a lot of depth in the offensive and defensive lines, and we’ve got a bunch of veterans in the back end which always helps.
“We held out some of our veteran guys today. When you play Zero Week it comes up on you really quick so you’ve got to try to stay healthy,” coach Montgomery said.
Bixby’s junior varsity footballers will be involved in the Bixby JV Classic Thursday (Aug. 18), starting at 5 p.m. with the freshmen followed by the JV at 6:30 p.m. Joining the young Spartans are Stillwater, Jenks and Broken Arrow.
The varsity Spartans compete in the Bixby Fall Classic on Friday (Aug. 19), also starting at 5 p.m. Participating are Broken Arrow, Muskogee, Booker T. Washington and Sapulpa. There will be three half games Friday night and two Thursday, according to coach Montgomery.
Bixby’s varsity will play half games against Booker T. Washington and Sapulpa. JV Classic tickets cost
$5 while tickets for the Varsity Classic are $10 for adults and $5 for students.
NOTEBOOK – Bixby carries a 49-game winning streak – a state record – into the season opener. According to MaxPreps, Riverheads of Staunton, Virginia has the longest active national winning streak with 50 wins in a row, followed by Bixby. The Virginia program has won six straight state titles while Bixby has won four in a row. … In the Class 6AI-District 1 preseason poll, according to the Daily Oklahoman, Jenks, the defending 6AI state champion, was picked first followed by Bixby, Broken Arrow, Norman North, Moore, Westmoore, Enid and Southmoore. In Class 6AI-District 2, Owasso and Union were tied for the top spot, followed by Edmond Santa Fe, Mustang, Yukon and Norman with Edmond Memorial and Edmond North tied for seventh. … In MaxPreps Preseason Top 100 teams released this summer, Bixby was ranked No. 73. The Spartans were the only state team in the Top 100. … During the Tulsa World’s All-World honorees announced at a banquet earlier this month, Bixby coach
Montgomery was the All-World Boys’ Coach of the Year, Braylin Presley was the All-World Offensive Player of the Year, Cayden Dawson was named All-World in Girls’ Cross Country and Jersey Robb was named the All-World Wrestler of the Year. … The Jenks at Bixby regular season finale has been moved from Friday (Nov. 4) to Thursday (Nov. 3) to be broadcast over ESPN.
FORMER SPARTANS – Former Bixby Spartan football standouts – Brendan Evers (2017 graduate) and Brennan Presley (2020 graduate) are gaining recognition at Oklahoma State. Presley, a junior receiver/kick returner, was on the watch list for the 2022 Paul Hornung Award while defensive tackle Evers, a super senior, was named to the 2022 Wuerffel Trophy watch list.
During OSU’s Media Day recently, Evers said of the Spartan program “I’m really proud of their
continued success and I’m really proud to tell people I’m from that town. We started from a little no- name program in Oklahoma to a power and that was coach Montgomery’s dream when he got there. “They’ve really instilled a work ethic and toughness there,” he added.