Quick-Striking Bixby Routs East Central, 71-7
9.12.15 by Ron Holt
Striking quick and often, Bixby High extinguished any upset hopes East Central entertained Friday night at Lee Snider Stadium as the Spartans used a 38-point first quarter eruption as the springboard for a 71-7 romp past the Cardinals.

The final outcome was never in doubt as Bixby, 1-1, scored on each of its five possessions in the first quarter. A 26-point second quarter outburst gave the Spartans a cushiony 64-7 lead at intermission.

Bixby's reserves gained valuable varsity experience by taking the majority of the speedy second half snaps.

"I think our kids came out and played at a high intensity and played fast, which is what we focused on all week," said Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery.

"Now, it was sloppy and we made some mistakes that we need to correct but as far as our team's effort and executing our game plan I think they did a real good job."

In the first quarter, junior quarterback Tanner Griffin connected with Jake Spriggs for a 40-yard touchdown pass, senior Nic Roller scored on runs of six, three and 10 yards and Griffin hit senior Cade Cabbiness with a 24-yard scoring pass.

Roller, who rushed for 176 yards on 17 carries, opened the second quarter with a 38-yard touchdown burst, his fourth TD of the game.

Griffin and Cabbiness combined for a 98-yard touchdown pass play with 9:07 left in the first half and Griffin tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jared Kerr at the 7:59 mark.

With 7:59 remaining before halftime, 5-8, 162-pound sophomore defensive back Colton Tafoya intercepted Cardinal quarterback Kainen Jarrett and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown. Tafoya finished with three pass interceptions.

"I'm excited. I didn't know I was going to do this good going into my first varsity games," a smiling Tafoya said afterward. "I got help from a lot of the seniors like Connor Walker and Jake Spriggs and I've got to give a shout out to coach Hicks (Travis) for doing a good job coaching me.

"I thought I was going to see some playing time and I worked hard this week. When I get in I just try to give it my all," he added.
Bixby's 711 yards of total offense featured 317 rushing yards and 394 yards passing. The Spartans averaged 28.1 yards per play. Griffin was 13-of-20 passing for 346 yards and four touchdowns.

"We had a hard week of practice and that's something we've just got to keep doing as the season goes on," Griffin said. "We just went out and executed and did what we needed to do. We were trying to score as fast as we can. We just tried to play up tempo.

"That was a big confidence boost tonight and we will have some good film to watch this week. It was good that we got younger guys in there. It's just a big confidence boost for everyone."

Coach Montgomery agreed that the game produced passing game improvement and allowed the coaches to play inexperienced players.

"They were loading up and trying to stop the run. We had seen that on film and knew if they lined up the same way we were going to throw it," Coach Montgomery noted. "We picked up some unorthodox looks we saw with some of their blitzes.

"We got some young guys playing time. We've got a lot of young guys that are contributing this year. Last week we played eight sophomores with meaningful snaps and we started four. To get those guys meaningful looks is important."

Bixby ends pre-district play Friday, Sept. 18, when it visits Springdale, Ark. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. "They look improved from a year ago," Coach Montgomery said. "Their skills guys are always pretty good."

Springdale lost at Greenwood, Ark., 63-28, in its opener and fell at Alma, Ark., 17-7 Friday night.

SPARTAN NOTES - Bixby didn't turn the ball over but the Spartans had seven penalties for 90 yards. East Central's only score came on a 78-yard run by junior Bruce White with 1:18 left in the second quarter. White led the Cardinals, now 0-2, with 149 yards rushing on 16 carries. Bixby intercepted four visitor passes. Besides Tafoya's three pass thefts, sophomore Cameron Stephens recorded his first varsity interception. Cabbiness had a productive game, catching four passes for 152 yards and two TDs. Seven Spartans caught passes. Bixby's final score came on Colyn Farley's three-yard run.