Bixby Stuns Top-Ranked Hornets 27-10
10.25.14 by Ron Holt
A week's worth of intense preparation paid dividends Friday night as a stout defensive performance sparked Bixby's third-ranked Spartans to an impressive 27-10 victory over previously top-ranked Tulsa Washington in front of a large crowd at the Hornets' S. E. Williams Stadium.

Bixby improved to 7-1 on the season and raised the Class 6AII-1 district record to 5-0. Washington is now 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the district.

Entering the game, the Hornets, who led 10-7 at halftime, had shut out five opponents and had only allowed 26 points this season. But, it was the Spartans' defense that shined the brightest on this night.

Bixby's defense limited Washington to 193 total offensive yards and blanked the Hornets in the second half.

"We studied them hard on film all week," said senior linebacker Zach Reynolds. "We had a good idea what they would come out and do and we shut them down. From here on it's just going to get better.

"For the most part we were where we were supposed to be and we did our job and came out with the win. We'll take this intensity and just keep going," he added.

Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery also praised the defensive effort. "Our defense had a great week of preparation," he said. "My hat's off to Coach Flowers (Rodney), our defensive coordinator, who did a good job of having those guys ready. "We've got so many experienced players on defense that they know how to adjust. It's nice having kids that understand what we are trying to do on both sides of the ball."

Bixby went on an 84-yard touchdown drive to open the second half to overcome the halftime deficit and regain the lead at 13-10. Reynolds capped off the drive with a two-yard TD plunge. Sophomore Ryan Matthews had a clutch 28-yard pass reception on third-and-23 to keep the drive alive.

On the Hornets' first play of the second half, quarterback Cordale Grundy was sacked by senior Austin Grotts for a 14-yard loss. Grundy was injured on the play. He returned but was ineffective.

Later in the third period, Grundy tried to pass but was hit by Grotts. The ball floated into the air and was intercepted by linebacker Kress Woodward and returned 19 yards to the hosts' 13-yard-line.

"Austin Grotts was about to sack the quarterback and hit his arm as he tried to throw," said Woodward, a 5-10, 196-pound junior. "I saw it wobbling and my eyes were as big as softballs. I just wanted to make sure I caught it and then get what I could." Three plays later, Bixby quarterback Tanner Griffin found J. J. Cantrell for a 10-yard scoring pass play. Taylor Ruth's conversion kick stretched the Spartan lead to 20-10. Junior Nic Roller, who victimized the Hornets for 151 yards on 26 carries, capped off a 66-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown run for a 27-10 lead at the 8:20 mark.

In the first half, Luke Beasley's 39-yard field goal gave Washington a 3-0 lead with 7:51 left in the second quarter. Bixby took the lead later in the stanza as Griffin avoided a rush and hit senior Kyle Rhine with a 22-yard touchdown pass with 1:33 left in the half for a 7-3 lead.

The Hornets rallied to recapture the lead as Tariq Bitson got behind the Spartans and caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Grundy with 25 seconds left for the 10-7 halftime advantage.

Griffin was productive throwing and running. He was 11-of-18 passing for 130 yards and two touchdowns and rushed eight times for 55 yards. Rhine had six catches for 64 yards and one score.

"I think we've matured as the season has gone on which was our goal," Coach Montgomery said. "To come out against a really good opponent and execute really well tells us that we've grown as a team. Monday's and Wednesday's practices were as good as we've had."

GAME NOTES: Bixby returns home Friday, Oct. 31, for a district game with Muskogee. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Muskogee lost 13-0 to Sand Springs Friday. …Contributing on defense for Bixby were Grady Hanifin, who had two tackles for losses of 3 and 10 yards; Jacob Spriggs had a tackle for one-yard loss, Grotts and Roller combined to sack Grundy for a 14-yard loss, Casey Saied had a tackle for a four-yard loss and Reynolds had a tackle for a two-yard loss.