Roller-Led Bixby Romps Past Muskogee 57-28
11.1.14 by Ron Holt
For the most part, Bixby's top-ranked Spartans have handled distractions this season.

A week ago, Bixby upended Tulsa Washington on the road to move into the district favorite's role and earn the No. 1 ranking in the state in Class 6AII.

Next Friday, Nov. 7, the Spartans can win the district championship when they host Sand Springs, starting at 7 p.m. at Lee Snider Stadium.

Bixby didn't get caught looking behind or peeking ahead as the Spartans scored on three of their first four possessions Friday night en route to a 57-28 victory over Muskogee in a District 6AII-1 battle at Spartan Field.

"You always worry about them being ready to play but we had a good week of practice and the kids were focused. I was really happy with the way they came out tonight," said Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery.

"We shut them down defensively and offensively we executed, especially in the running game. When it gets to this time of the year you have to be able to play defense and run the football. When we got the big lead I felt like we lost our focus a little but they do have some weapons," he added.

Led by bullish running back Nic Roller, the Spartans (8-1, 6-0) dominated the Roughers with a 489-yard rushing attack. Roller was unstoppable as he rushed for 255 yards on 25 carries and scored six touchdowns. He didn't play in the second half.

"Nic is tough. He had a phenomenal from running the football, blocking and on defense he played well. On offense we did a good job of executing and taking what they gave us," Coach Montgomery added. Roller scored from 17 yards out on Bixby's first possession and Austin Grotts scored the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead at the 7:49 mark of the first quarter.

Two possessions later, Roller scored on a 10-yard burst up the middle and ran for the two-point conversion for a 16-0 lead with 2:51 left in the opening frame. And, with 33 seconds showing, Roller scored on a seven-yard run to stake Bixby to a 22-0 first period lead. He later scored on runs of three, 57 and nine yards to spark the Spartans to a 43-22 lead at halftime.

While the offense was building up a 29-0 lead, Bixby's defense was making life miserable for the Roughers (3-6, 3-3). Muskogee caught fire offensively in the second stanza, scoring three touchdowns on only six plays and tacking on a 26-yard field goal with no time left in the first half to trim the deficit to 43-22.

Muskogee, which added a final touchdown against BHS reserves late in the game, finished with 332 total offensive yards.

"I feel like we came in prepared for this game. Coming into this year we knew we had to take each game step by step and we knew we can't overlook any team because they can have bad days and good days," said Bixby's senior defensive back Justin Williams.

"We just try to improve every week. We'll come in tomorrow morning and watch film and see our mistakes and then come out Monday and go about our business," Williams added.

In addition to playing well in pass coverage defensively, Williams had four kickoff returns for 133 yards. "I was just following my blocks," he said.

Ryan Matthews contributed 88 yards on 15 carries to Bixby's rushing attack, while LaDarren Walker ran for 55 yards on 12 tries. Zach Reynolds scored from one yard out in the third quarter and Walker added a two-yard TD run in the third frame.

Tulsa Washington rallied past Sand Springs, 42-35, in district action Friday. The Sandites have to defeat Bixby to have a chance to share the league title.

"It's going to come down to Week 10 for the district championship and we had an idea it would," Coach Montgomery said. "We still feel our team has room for growth and that it continues to improve every week. That's probably the thing I'm most proud of them for is that they continue to grow and get better."

GAME NOTES: Through nine games, Roller has rushed for 1,305 yards on 171 attempts (7.6 yards per carry). He's scored 21 rushing touchdowns and caught three TD passes for 24 total touchdowns. It would be interesting to know how many of the yards came after contact. Muskogee went three-and-out on its first four possessions. BHS senior linebacker Casey Saied played well as he had a jarring sack for a three-yard loss and blocked a Rougher extra point attempt. Bixby's 570 yards of total offense against Muskogee gives the Spartans 4,295 yards of total offense this season, an average of 477 yards a game.