Roller Has Career Night As Spartans Cruise
9.13.14 by Ron Holt
A career offensive night by junior running back Nic Roller and a defensive effort that efficiently executed the game plan sparked Bixby High's footballers to a 51-21victory at Tulsa East Central Thursday night.

Bixby evened its season record at 1-1. East Central is 0-2.

Roller, who was limited to eight total yards a week ago in a loss at Jenks, returned to form against the Cardinals as he erupted for a 66-yard touchdown run on the Spartans' second possession to start his productive night.
He added a 27-yard touchdown burst and a two-point conversion run to expand Bixby's lead to 15-0 with 2:41 showing in the first quarter.

Roller ran nine yards for a TD at the 11:15 mark of the second quarter while also proving capable at receiver by catching two swing passes from quarterback Tanner Griffin and turning them into touchdown sprints of 74 yards and 65 yards, respectively, in the second half.

His night ended with a 47-yard touchdown romp with 6:48 left in the game as the Spartan lead grew to 44-22.
Roller finished with an impressive 400 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns. He rushed for 261 yards on 21 carries and caught two passes for 139 yards.

"I knew we had to go in there and make up for last week because we didn't get a really good push in the line. But this week I thought the line did a good job of getting to the second level and giving me room to run," a smiling Roller said afterward.

"Last year I think I caught only two passes so whenever they throw me the ball I just try to do the best I can. Those plays were blocked up pretty good. We just wanted to show everyone that what happened last week wasn't Bixby football," he added.

Sophomore Ryan Matthews scored from one yard out with 5:13 left in the game for the final BHS score.

Bixby's defense realized that following the game plan would be crucial. The plan involved containing East Central's talented 6-1, 180-pound quarterback Tre'von Cherry, a three-year starter for the Cardinals and one of the area's top signal-callers.

Cherry led the Cardinals on an 80-yard, 16-play drive to start the third quarter that ended in his two-yard touchdown run that narrowed the gap to 30-15. He also threw a pair of touchdown passes while being constantly pressured by the Spartans.

"We definitely wanted to play better than last week. We did all we were taught in practice about trying to contain the quarterback. We knew going into the game that he was the best player and their main emphasis," said standout defensive lineman Austin Grotts. "We knew we had to contain him and for the most part we did."

Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery was also pleased with the play of the defense but realize there are plenty of things to correct before district play starts.

"The defense played well. The Cherry kid at quarterback is a special player. I think our defense did a real good job early on containing him and allowing us to get a big lead," Coach Montgomery said.

"They were up in our face playing a lot of man coverage and Coach (Travis) Schneider did a good job getting us in a couple of swing passes that Nic scored on," he added.

"I think it's important for the kids to get a victory and we are going to enjoy this one, all the while knowing we've got to go back to work. It was not a clean game."

GAME NOTES - Bixby plays its home opener Friday, Sept. 19, when Springdale, Ark., visits Lee Snider Stadium. Bixby defeated Springdale, 45-38, on the road last season, outscoring the hosts 22-0 in the fourth quarter. "Springdale will be good," said Coach Montgomery. "We came back from a 24-point deficit to win over there last year. It was a war." Late in the third quarter, Bixby fumbled a handoff exchange and a Cardinal defender picked up the ball but was denied returning the fumble for a score by a hustling tackle from Bixby offensive lineman Chandler Price. Bixby had four turnovers in the game, three lost fumbles and a pass interception.