Bixby Wins Class 6A-II Championship Crown
12.6.14 by Ron Holt
MOORE - The 2014 Bixby High Spartans' football team will forever be remembered for its historical accomplishment here Friday night at Moore Stadium.

The Spartans defeated talented Lawton, 35-21, in the first Class 6AII State Championship Game. It was Bixby's first football state championship after seven close calls in state title games.

"This is a good group of kids. They earned it," a smiling Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery said afterward. "I couldn't be prouder of a group of kids. This is a big deal it's awesome."

A diverse offensive effort and relentless defensive performance were ingredients the Spartans relied on to reach the milestone and close the season with a 12-1 record. Defensively, the Spartans dominated at times, limited the high-scoring Wolverines to 256 total offensive yards. The Spartans countered with 483 total offensive yards, led by junior running back Nic Roller's 233 yards rushing and two touchdowns on a season-high 43 carries. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Griffin was 20-of-29 passing for 220 yards and one touchdown.

"Our defense was amazing. They (Lawton) are the No. 1 offense in the state for a reason. I was proud of the way our defense played. I felt like we set the tone early that they weren't going to run the ball," Coach Montgomery said. "The second half was great how we were able to run the ball with Nic," he added. "He's a man. He's tough to tackle especially when it's fourth quarter time. This is special and hopefully will help build some momentum for the program."

It was Griffin's running that got the Spartans on the scoreboard first as he weaved through the Wolverine defense for a 32-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Taylor Ruth kicked the point-after for a 7-0 lead. "This is amazing. It's what we've been planning for all season. We all have grown together this year. I wouldn't have wanted to do this with anybody else," Griffin said.

Lawton, which ended at 11-2, tied the game with 5:56 left in the second quarter on a 64-yard pass play from quarterback Jack Meservy to Markeanan Hair.

Senior Kale Mulkey caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Griffin for a 14-7 lead with 4:29 left before halftime but Lawton rallied to tie the game at 14-all on Darreyl Patterson 22-yard touchdown.

"We knew it was going to be a battle the second half but we came out and too it to them," Roller said. "It feels good. We've been working for this since the third grade."

Bixby controlled the third quarter as Roller ran 15 yards for a touchdown, senior defensive back Adrian Mica returned a pass interception 35 yards for a score and Roller scored from four yards out to give the Spartans a 35-14 lead entering the final quarter.
Meservy scored on a one-yard sneak with 4:20 remaining but Bixby recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the time igniting a celebration by the Spartans and their large following.

"We came in wanting to shut down their run. We knew they had a good back and good offensive line but we wanted to get them in third and longs," said senior standout defensive end Austin Grotts, who had a sack and created chaos in the Wolverine backfield all game. "A lot of their guys play both ways and I think that's an advantage we had. I felt like we wore them down. It's amazing this is a once in a lifetime thing," he added.

A couple of Grotts' defensive mates also were proud of the defense's effort. "I'm so happy with what we've accomplished. We are a band of brothers," said senior linebacker Casey Saied. "We knew how great Lawton was but we knew if we played together like we have all season with everyone doing their job that we would come out on top.

"I don't think it's sunk in yet. We worked hard for this and showed how great a football team we are tonight."
Junior defensive lineman Grady Hanifin said, "We had a good game plan. I think they thought they would run the ball down our throats but we proved we could hang with them. They had a big offensive line but we were physical and hitting them hard. "We came out more focused in the second half we were going for the gold," he noted.

GAME NOTES - One way to limit an explosive offense it to keep it off the field. Bixby dominated time of possession, 30:03 to 17:57. Senior cornerback Justin Williams defended on Lawton's 64-yard TD pass play and later contributed a pair of impressive kickoff returns for 90 yards. "As a corner you have to have a short memory," Williams said. "I was with him on the play but he made a good catch. This feels so great since it's the last time I'll put on a Bixby uniform." Six Spartans caught passes Friday night, led by Mulkey's five grabs for 49 yards and one TD. Cade Cabbiness had four catches for 64 yards and senior Kyle Rhine ended with four catches for 39 yards. "It doesn't feel real yet," Rhine said afterward. "It's awesome and something we've been working for. We weren't going home without the gold ball. A lot of people are crying but I'm too happy to cry right now."