Bixby Sets Early Tempo, Routs Sapulpa, 62-17
10.9.16 by Ron Holt
It didn't take long for Bixby High's Spartans to establish the tempo during Friday night's 62-17 Class 6AII-District 2 victory over
Sapulpa at Lee Snider Field.
Only 16 seconds had elapsed off the scoreboard clock opening the game before Bixby scored its first touchdown, courtesy of a
freshman making his first varsity appearance.
Spartan rookie Brennan Presley fielded the game's opening kickoff, found a gap in the coverage and out-ran the nearest pursuit to
complete a 91-yard touchdown return at the 11:44 mark.
Two minutes and 41 seconds later, Presley caught a pass from senior quarterback Tanner Griffin and carried it 40 yards to
pay-dirt to give the Spartans a 13-0 lead with 9:03 left in the first stanza.
Other than continuing to struggle with kickoff coverage, the Spartans turned in a crisp performance on both sides of the ball.
Bixby dominated the remainder of the game sending the starters to the sideline in the second half after building up a 56-10
Bixby improved to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the district. Sapulpa dipped to 0-6 and 0-3.
The Spartans led 28-0 after one quarter and scored 28 more points in the second half to seal the win with another half to play.
It was an impressive start for Presley, who had played in two ninth grade games prior to making the move to the varsity. His
debut featured 120 receiving yards on five receptions and a touchdown and 146 yards on two kickoff returns and one TD.
"He's going to be pretty good … he's already pretty good," Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery said afterward. "Hopefully, he
adds another dimension and helps loosen things up for some other guys. We've also got a lot of guys who play on both sides of
the ball so he could help there. We had confidence in him."
Bixby, which only turned the ball over once on a fumble, featured a balanced offensive attack that netted 646 yards of total
offense against the Chieftains. The Spartans had 336 yards passing and 310 rushing, averaging 9.1 yards per play.
Griffin had a sharp performance, completing 17-of-21 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns. Senior Nic Swanson led Bixby
with seven pass receptions for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
On the ground, the Spartans ended with two 100-yard rushers. Junior Tucker Pawley ran for 131 yards on 11 carries and scored
three touchdowns. Freshman Braden Roller finished with 118 yards on 17 attempts.
After a rugged stretch against highly-regarded opponents, Bixby seemed prepared to play against a winless opponent.
"We have a real mature bunch and they practice really well. I think everybody was pretty upset with the outcome last week and
were ready to come out and play well," Coach Montgomery said. "For the most part we were pretty clean tonight.
"It was a great night for Tanner. With him being a three-year starter we know what we are going to get out of him but Tanner is so
mature he continues to improve each week on the little things," he added. "I felt like our running game was good. Tucker had
quite a few yards and Braden did a good job even though we didn't get him in the end zone."
Bixby was a heavy favorite to win the game but that didn't keep the Spartans from properly preparing for a struggling district
opponent. The Spartans' defense limited Sapulpa to 193 total offensive yards, including 178 passing yards and only 15 rushing
"We prepared hard after our game last week. We just knew that we still had to get better for the rest of the season," said
hard-hitting defensive back Ryan Matthews, a 5-10, 176-pound senior. "It felt good to have a game like this but we still prepared
the same way because we know in the future we have some tough opponents coming up and we have to be ready.
"I felt pretty good about my play but I also think our defensive backfield took a step in the right direction tonight … that's
something we just need to keep going the rest of the season," he said.