Opportunistic Spartans "Kick" Westmoore, 70-28
9.24.16 by Ron Holt
Kickoff coverage, or a lack thereof, continues to be a problem area for Bixby High as the Spartans struggled again Friday night at
Lee Snider Stadium.
Bixby's kickoff return game, however, proved to be a problem for visiting Westmoore.
Spartan senior Drake Allen returned the game's opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown and sophomore teammate Clayton
Barbour returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown with 4:09 remaining in the second quarter to highlight an impressive 70-28
victory over the Jaguars.
Bixby, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A-II, improved to 2-2 with the win, while Westmoore, fourth-ranked in Class 6A-I, suffered its first
loss in four games. The Spartans scored in a variety of ways and erupted for 35 second quarter points to offset a 21-point second
quarter effort by the Jaguars to lead 42-21 at halftime.
The Spartans brought a large homecoming crowd to its feet from the outset as Allen fielded a rolling kickoff, ran to his left and
then sprinted right to find an opening. He outran a pack of Jaguars for the stunning touchdown.
"We were forming up the wedge really good in practice all week so I knew we had the potential," Allen said afterward. "I just ran
up in there and found a crease. I ran left and then I saw a crease open to the right so I ran that way. When I saw two guys on the
kicker that's when I really thought I was going to take it back.
"It was really exciting. With this being my senior year, it was homecoming and to get to start the game off with a touchdown …
yea, it was really exciting," added Allen, who had two kickoff returns for 96 yards.
After the two teams traded scores, Bixby began pulling away late in the second quarter when Barbour fielded a kickoff at the
BHS four, ran to the left and bounced off of numerous tacklers before arriving in the end zone to increase the Spartan lead to
"I just tried to keep my head up and look for a place to run. When I looked up and saw the end zone and saw that no one was
ahead of me that's when I knew I had it made," said Barbour, who was credited with two kickoff returns for 119 yards. "It's a good
feeling. The kickoff return was really good tonight."
Westmoore's Sterlin Ortiz was a thorn in the side of Bixby's kickoff coverage unit as he returned two kickoffs for 113 yards. He
gave the Jaguars excellent field position at Bixby's 19 and 28-yard lines. WHS scored after the lengthy, tackle-breaking returns.
"We have to clean up our kickoff coverage," Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery said. "We'll take a look at it and we may have
to look at putting some defensive starters, some guys with experience in tackling and covering, out there.
"That has cost us in some games this season. Jenks' average starting position after kickoffs was the 42-yard line," he said.
Like they have after every game this season, the coaching staff will find areas that need to be cleaned up, areas where the
Spartans need to improve. But, they also will be pleased with the offensive and defensive production.
Bixby dominated on the offensive and defensive lines, finishing with 529 yards of total offense on only 59 attempts, an average of
9.0 yards per play. The visitors had 258 total yards on 76 plays, averaging 3.4 yards a play.
Tucker Pawley sparked the Spartans' 392-yard rushing effort as he rushed for 268 yards on 19 carries and scored three
touchdowns on runs of 72, 47 and one yard. He averaged 14.1 yards per carry, aided by a pair of 72-yard bursts.
"We thought we would be able to run. Just like last week they blitzed off the edge a lot and brought the house a lot so we just
had to find the gaps and block them up," Pawley said. "There were some big holes tonight … our linemen got the job done
tonight. I give all my running tonight to them."
Junior offensive tackle Josh Owens expected the Spartans to run the ball and believed they would be successful.
"We were going to run a lot of inside zone and try to move them around," Owens said. "Tucker is a good back and he ran well
tonight. It felt good getting the job done tonight."
Coach Montgomery was also pleased with the success running the ball against a talented Westmoore defense.
"We knew we were going to have some good looks at running the ball but they offer a different look on defense," Coach
Montgomery said. "It's not one you see every week. Honestly, with their big defensive line I didn't anticipate the success we had
Bixby's scoring parade also included a three-yard TD pass play from quarterback Tanner Griffin to receiver Nic Swanson; runs of
39 and two yards by Griffin; a 41-yard scoring pass play from Staton King to Swanson, and a 39-yard sprint up the middle by
freshman Braden Roller.
Bixby's defense settled down after the Jaguars' second quarter uprising as the Jaguars didn't score again until a late TD against
"There are some things we need to clean up on the run side. But, they gave us a challenge at halftime and we came out and
executed," said senior defensive lineman Brendon Evers. "It was one of those games that we wanted to prove something … we
wanted to prove that we're still a championship worthy team."
The defenders were put into difficult situations, especially early in the game but rose to the occasion.
"I thought the defense was amazing. Our defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage," Coach Montgomery said. "Coby
(Tillman) was really good and Brendon continues to improve. Bentonville is the first game he played in and he only had a couple
of practices before that game. He just hasn't had a lot of reps but he's getting better."
NEXT GAME: Bixby opens Class 6A-I District II play next Friday, Sept. 30, at Muskogee. The improved Roughers are 4-0 on the
season after Friday night's 63-6 win at Bartlesville. Muskogee, which defeated Midwest City in the season opener, has scored 51
(McAlester), 62 (at Bentonville West) and 63 points in its last three games. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
NOTABLES - Senior defensive lineman Brendon Evers wore No. 90 instead of his customary No. 59 against Westmoore. "My 59
is ripped so I wore 90," he said. Which number will he wear at Muskogee? "I haven't decided yet … it's going to be a surprise,"
he added. … Bixby may be playing one of the state's toughest schedules. Jenks, Bentonville, Ark., Putnam City and
Westmoore, the Spartans' first four opponents this season, have a combined record of 14-3. … Bixby sophomore Ryan Kerr
returned a fumble recovery 18 yards and linebacker Coby Tillman returned a pass interception 17 yards. … Besides returning two
kickoffs for 113 yards, Jaguar senior Sterlin Ortiz also intercepted two Bixby passes.
Photos by Gregg Shipman