Bixby Faces Huge State Finals Challenge
11.25.14 by Ron Holt
To say Bixby High's footballers face a huge challenge in the Class 6AII State Championship Game against Lawton would be an understatement.

The Spartans and Wolverines, both with 11-1 records, play for the first Class 6AII state title at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, in Moore.
Bixby seeks its first state crown and is making its first finals appearance since 2009. Lawton, which has won four state titles, is in the state finals for the first time since 1987 when the Wolverines won a Class 5A crown. LHS also won state in 1970, 1963 and 1962.

Lawton features perhaps the largest offensive line in the state in 6AII, led by 6-4, 315-pound senior Jalin Barnett. Barnett is one of the state's top collegiate recruits.

"They are huge. They've got three offensive linemen over 300 pounds and have the Barnett kid who is a blue chip player and has offers from everybody," said Loren Montgomery, Bixby's fifth-year head football coach. "All five of them are big and physical. Lawton has good athletes. They'll be the prettiest team we've faced getting off the bus," he added.

Lawton, champion in District 6AII-2, reached the finals after wins over Bartlesville (56-24) in the quarterfinals and last weekend's 42-27 win over Tulsa Washington at Yukon. A 24-22 win at Midwest City in the regular season finale earned LHS the district crown.

Besides possessing size, Lawton has offensive talent and used its bulk defensively in to neutralize the opponent's ground game.
Darreyl Patterson, a senior tailback, leads the Wolverines' rushing attack with 1,946 yards on 253 carries and scored 19 touchdowns. Sophomore Tre Curry rushed for 720 yards and 11 TDs.

Senior quarterback Jack Meservy has passed for 2,286 yards and 23 touchdowns this season, while senior Kalin Sadler has been the Wolverines' top receiver with 46 catches for 912 yards and 12 TDs.

"They have a good tailback, a speedster who has gained a lot of yards," Coach Montgomery noted. "They've got a wide receiver Sadler, who is also pretty slick. They can do it all on offense but they like to stretch you as a defense. "Lawton's identity is to load the box and try to make you throw," he said. "I think at the end of the day that's what they feel comfortable with. We're practicing against a lot of different looks. "Since we have been able to throw the ball a little on the films they've seen I'm not sure what kind of defense they'll run."

The Wolverines are led defensively by Levi Cain, a 5-10, 201-pound sophomore linebacker, who has 157 total tackles.
Bixby, which whipped Sand Springs (41-14) in a state semifinal last week, faces a different scenario in preparing for the state championship. For starters, the Spartans have an off week, along with the Thanksgiving holiday.

Coach Montgomery and his staff are attempting to keep a normal schedule.

"I really feel indifferent about having a week off. I think the kids enjoy it," he said. "But, I warned the kids that if they come out here and procrastinate and think they can get dialed in later in the week or next week that would be a mistake.

"We're practicing this first week just like we were playing Friday. The only difference is that we won't have school Wednesday or Thursday so we'll practice in the mornings," said Coach Montgomery.

"We'll try to keep it normal as possible. I don't want to downplay the game but at the same time we want to make it another football game. I think the kids are enjoying an opportunity to play another couple of weeks."

Normally, an off week would provide a chance to heal injuries. Bixby, however, appears to be at its healthiest for the state championship.

"We have no injuries. We will have every starter available for the state championship game," Coach Montgomery added. "That's one thing we're really proud of is the work the kids have done in the weight room. I think that's transitioned into being healthier on the field."

DIRECTIONS - The Class 6AII championship game will be played at Moore High's stadium, located at 300 N. Eastern in Moore.

COMMON FOES - Bixby and Lawton won against four common foes. Bixby defeated Sapulpa (60-0), Bartlesville (41-28), Stillwater (61-28) and Tulsa Washington (27-10). Stillwater was the only game played at Bixby.
Lawton beat Sapulpa (61-21), Stillwater (32-14) and Bartlesville (56-24) at home and Tulsa Washington (42-27) at Yukon.
Lawton's loss was against Lawton MacArthur (35-33) in the second game of the season. Bixby's loss came in the season opener at Jenks (66-20).