Second Half Struggles Costly To Spartans
10.3.15 by Ron Holt
Bixby High's annual Football Homecoming game Friday night turned out to be a tale of two halves.

The top-ranked Spartans gained the early momentum as senior running back Nic Roller scored on runs of three, 10 and 22 yards as Bixby built up a 21-7 lead with 5:25 left before intermission. Sustaining that momentum proved to be a problem.

Trailing 21-14 at halftime, Bartlesville's fourth-ranked Bruins dominated the second half by outscoring the Spartans, 36-12, en route to a 50-33 District 6AII-1 victory in front of a large Lee Snider Stadium crowd.

Bartlesville, which improved to 5-0 on the season, capitalized on the talents and veteran decision making of senior quarterback Colten Penrod to capture the win. He was 13-of-20 passing for 255 yards and three touchdowns.

In addition, the 6-1, 175-pound Penrod ran for 106 yards on nine carries and scored a touchdown. He contributed 363 yards of total offense and four touchdowns.

In a game billed as the Tulsa World's Game of the Week, one would expect the game to be decided by which team made the fewest mistakes. Bartlesville was that team.

Bixby, 3-2, suffered two costly pass interceptions and was caught off guard on a fake punt on fourth down late in the third quarter.

"We had a bunch of big breakdowns. I thought in the first half we started to have a lot of momentum and had the opportunity to go three scores up but it was like our kids relaxed a little bit and with a team as talented offensively as Bartlesville you can't do that," Spartan Head Coach Loren Montgomery said.

Bixby received the kickoff to open the second half and was driving before the Bruins' Nate Hansen stepped in front of a Griffin pass and returned it 66 yards for the game-tying touchdown at the 11:10 mark of the third quarter.

Penrod sparked the Bruins to the lead , hitting Matt Simpson with a 20-yard touchdown pass for a 27-21 lead at the 7:14 mark.
Griffin was picked off for the second time late in the third quarter and the Bruins capitalized on a 23-yard field goal by Garrett Meidl to go up 30-21.

Bixby responded quickly behind a 75-yard pass from Griffin to Connor Walker to the Bruins' one. On the next play, Roller scored and the Spartans trailed only 30-27 with 1:59 showing in the third period.

An ensuing Bartlesville drive stalled at its own 38 before the Bruins successfully executed a fake punt on fourth-and-3 to keep a drive alive that ended in a 30-yard TD pass from Penrod to Qemar Gray for a 37-27 lead at the 11:24 mark of the fourth quarter.

Hilger ran one yard for a TD with 3:56 left in the game, handing the Bruins a 43-27 lead.

Griffin and Jared Kerr combined for a three-yard touchdown pass play with 2:16 left, making it a 43-33 game but Penrod ended the scoring after a 41-yard touchdown burst with 1:56 remaining for the final score.

"We had big mistakes in the third quarter and got behind. But, we still had opportunities to make plays and couldn't," Coach Montgomery added. "We had our guy in position on the fake punt but they just made a play. "I think we're going to be a lot better team on down the line if we continue to buy in and progress. We'll see how it shakes out, we are going to have to fight our tails off to get a home playoff spot or to get into the playoffs," he added.

Roller had a successful return to the lineup as he rushed for 123 yards on 29 carries and scored four touchdowns. Griffin passed for 333 yards on 28-of-53 passing, one touchdown and two interceptions. Cabbiness, who was injured at Springdale, Ark., led the Spartans with 10 catches for 93 yards. Walker had six grabs for 102 yards.

SPARTAN NOTEBOOK - Bixby travels to Ponca City next Friday. The Wildcats fell at Muskogee, 42-13 on Friday. In other district games, Tulsa Washington defeated Sapulpa, 63-24, and Sand Springs downed Claremore, 27-7. Prior to kickoff, Nicole Floistad was named Homecoming Queen and Will Blankenship was named Homecoming King. Bixby played for the second game without senior offensive lineman Oliver Pate. "I'm real proud of the guys who are playing. They are doing a good job up front. We protected pretty good and had some success in the run game," Coach Montgomery said.
Gregg Shipman Photography