Bixby Wins Back And Forth Opener
9.9.13 by Gregg Shipman
Though the Spartans never trailed in a 32-27 win over the visiting Garden City Buffalos, victory was very much at risk throughout much of the contest full of offensive fireworks. The teams combined for more than 900 yards of total offense on the evening and kept fans on the edges of their seats.

Scoring first, Spartan receiver Kyle Rhine hauled in a 27 yard pass from QB Marshall Ray. Lining up in a swinging gate formation on the extra point, Bixby recognized that Garden City was not prepared for the look and RB Nic Roller easily tacked on an early 2 point conversion, which would prove valuable later in the game.

Each time Bixby would score and give itself some breathing room, Garden City would answer with another score of it's own. Bixby's nemesis in this game was Buffalo quarterback Greson Tempel, who scored all four Buffalo touchdowns himself (all rushing) keeping Garden City within striking distance.

Bixby Head Coach Loren Montgomery credited Tempel with keeping the game so close, "He's a tough matchup," said Mongomery. "He was a 1300 yard (passing) 900 yard (rushing) guy last year and they threw some veer option at us we weren't expecting. He really burned us at times." With scoring runs of 20, 5, 71 and 53 yards, Tempel's big plays kept the Buffalo hopes alive with his legs but was pressured by the Spartan defenders into completing only 35% of his passes.

Bixby's offense , though prolific, suffered through several dropped passes in the game on a night that was very hot and humid. They found however that they could rely on a strong 1-2 punch at running back - featuring junior Zack Reynolds and super sophomore, Nic Roller. Both backs finished with over 100 yards rushing; Roller with 159, Reynolds with 103.

Montgomery said Bixby ran effectively with that running back combo whenever they needed to however, when they could avoid "shooting themselves in the foot" with drops and penalties.

Roller scored two touchdowns (2 yards each) in addition to the two point conversion which proved critical in pressuring Garden City to catch up late, missing on a two point conversion of their own after their final scoring drive. After scoring what could've proven to be a tying touchdown (with a successful 2 point conversion) Garden City failed to convert and found themselves down 29-27 at the end of the third quarter.

Things could've again become interesting as the Spartans settled for a field goal on their final scoring possession after back to back drops in the end zone, resulting in a 5 point margin. In the end however, Bixby's defense stepped up and gave the Spartans the ball back. Playing to win, Bixby quarterback Marshal Ray went deep down the middle of the field and found wide receiver Taylor Jones.

Now deep in Buffalo territory, Montgomery called off the dogs. Rather than adding another cosmetic score, Bixby chose sportsmanship and their final possession ended with Ray kneeling to run the clock out on the Garden City 12 yardline.

Ray finished with 245 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Rhine was the leading Spartan receiver with 76 yards and one touchdown. Isaiah Harbin (2 receptions, 37 yards) caught Ray's second touchdown pass (8 yards). The Spartan passing game shared the wealth, with 7 different receivers catching passes.

The Spartan defense surrendered some big plays on the edge to Tempel, but stepped up when needed, forcing 4 turnovers to Bixby's 3. Defensive backs Justin Williams and Blake Cooper led the Spartan defense with 4 tackles each.

Next up for the Spartans is another home date, hosting Sand Springs this Friday night at 7:00pm.