Dominating Effort Propels Bixby Past Stillwater
11.16.14 by Ron Holt
A crisp, dominating effort on both sides of the ball sparked Bixby's top-ranked Spartans to a 61-28 victory over Stillwater in a Class 6AII state quarterfinal game Friday night at Lee Snider Stadium.

Coach Loren Montgomery's Spartans, 10-1, advance to the state semifinals Friday, Nov. 21, against Sand Springs. The Sandites won 29-28 at Midwest City in another state quarterfinal.

Stillwater, 7-4, entered the playoffs on a three-game winning streak. During the streak, the Pioneers averaged 60.3 points a game. Bixby's defense handled the challenge in impressive fashion, forcing Stillwater to work for its 298 yards of total offense. By the time Stillwater erupted on Cameron Mayberry's 65-yard touchdown burst, the Pioneers trailed 28-0.

While Bixby's defense made life difficult for the Pioneers, the Spartan offense, engineered by sophomore quarterback Tanner Griffin, executed its game plan to perfection, taking control in the first quarter. The Spartans blitzed SHS's defense for 606 yards of total offense, including 407 passing yards.

"We executed well on both sides of the ball," Coach Montgomery said. "Tanner was amazing in the first half. He was on fire. I felt like we were really on. The defense did a great job in the first half. We let one slip away but Stillwater has some really good guys.

"There weren't a lot of mutual teams to compare Stillwater to but you look at them on film and they had been scoring a lot of points. There is a reason they beat Mustang, Edmond North and some of those teams. I was proud of the way we executed and played with intensity," he added.

Griffin was in a groove from the outset, carving up the Pioneers on 22-of-29 passing for 407 yards and six touchdowns in his most impressive effort of the season.

"We had to get off to a good start and it was big getting the lead early," Griffin said. "I don't know what it was but we had a good night throwing the ball and my receivers made a lot of great catches."

Bixby's defense set the tempo by forcing Stillwater to punt on its opening possession. The Spartans followed with a 55-yard, seven play drive that ended when Griffin passed to Jared Kerr for a 20-yard TD with 6:58 showing in the first quarter for a 6-0 lead. Kerr ended with four grabs for 72 yards.

After a Pioneer fumble, Griffin found Cade Cabbiness for a 16-yard TD and Nic Roller's conversion run gave BHS a 14-0 lead with 6:11 showing.

Later in the quarter, Bixby denied SHS on a fourth-and-one play at the visitors' 22-yard line. Two plays later, Roller scored from 22 yards out. Taylor Ruth's conversion kick gave the hosts a 21-0 lead.

Roller, who rushed for 161 yards and two TDs on 21 carries took over the next time Bixby touched the ball at its own 32-yard line.
He ran for six yards, took a swing pass 11 yards, bolted up the middle for 37 yards, ran three yards and scored from a yard out to expand the Spartan lead to 28-0 with 7:03 left before halftime.

After Mayberry's touchdown, Bixby answered on a 20-yard pass from Griffin to senior Kyle Rhine for a 35-7 second quarter lead at the 4:59 mark.

On its next possession, BHS took four plays and 1:02 off the clock to go 41 yards for a touchdown, which came on a 22-yard TD pass from Griffin to Cabbiness for a 42-7 lead with 2:30 left before intermission.

Stillwater's Brandon Prather took the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown for the only other Pioneer highlight of the half.
Griffin and Cabbiness, who caught seven passes for 129 yards and three touchdowns, hooked up to open the third quarter on a 31-yard scoring pass to increase the lead to 48-14.

Bixby ended its scoring on a six-yard pass from Griffin to Rhine and a six-yard run by LaDarren Walker with 1:15 remaining.

GAME NOTES: Bixby limited Stillwater to 4-of-15 passing for 41 yards. "We studied a lot of film on them," said junior linebacker Kress Woodward. "We knew 33 (Mayberry) was a good runner but we thought we could stop them. We basically just ran our base defense." Bixby, which had 28 first downs, was 10-of-12 on third down plays and dominated time of possession, 30:04 to 17:56. Spartan defensive backs Justin Williams and J. J. Cantrell intercepted SHS passes. "Our defense just ran to the ball and we do a good job running to the ball," Cantrell said. "We watched a lot of film getting ready so I felt confident going into the game. I thought we all played good." Bixby defeated Sand Springs, 34-31, two weeks ago in the regular season finale.