Spartans Dominate Ponca City, 60-6
10.15.16 by Ron Holt
PONCA CITY - Being a heavy favorite against Class 6AII-District 2 rival Ponca City was irrelevant to Bixby High's Spartans here Friday night at Sullins Stadium.

Bixby's focus and intent during prior practice sessions centered around turning in an improved, sharp and clean performance in all phases. Mission accomplished.

The Spartans transferred the practice field focus to dominance on the turf, building a 53-0 halftime lead into a 60-6 victory over the out-manned Wildcats. The win allowed Bixby to keep pace in the district race entering the stretch run.

"Without a doubt, I thought we did some things well tonight," BHS head coach Loren Montgomery said afterward. "We targeted three things tonight. We targeted zero turnovers and I don't think we had any. We targeted no explosive plays for touchdowns which we did in the first half and we wanted to average starting field position inside the 25 on kickoffs and we did that. In fact, we were better than that.

"We just tried to focus on those things that were getting us in trouble. I'm glad our guys came out and executed tonight," he added.

Bixby improved to 4-3 on the season and raised the district record to 2-1 while Ponca City dipped to 1-6 and 0-4.

The Spartans will be able to put a check mark by their weekly goals. For the first time this season, Bixby didn't turn the ball over. Bixby's starting defense didn't give up an explosive scoring TD and Ponca City had poor starting field position throughout the first half as the Spartans were seizing control. Ponca possessions began at its own 10, 20, 20, 8, 26, 20, 7 and 20 yard lines in the first half.

Bixby featured a balanced offensive attack, rushing for 200 yards while senior quarterback Tanner Griffin was especially crisp, completing 17-of-22 passes for 309 yards and six touchdowns. That's 509 total offensive yards.

Griffin threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Clayton Barbour to complete a 61-yard, five-play first possession drive for a 7-0 Spartan lead with 10:11 left in the first quarter. Griffin and junior Tucker Pawley combined for a 30-yard TD on the next possession and Griffin found junior Zach Riddle for an eight-yard TD as the Spartans built up a 22-0 first quarter lead.

The Spartan defense contributed points opening the second quarter as BHS linebacker Colby Tillman tackled Ponca City's Darrell Arita for a five-yard loss in the end zone and a Spartan safety.

"We just had so much pressure on the quarterback from our 'D' line that he just made a bad decision throwing the ball," Tillman said. "I was just there to clean up the mess in the end zone. I thought our defense did a great job tonight.
"One of our goals this week was no explosive plays. We played to that standard and accomplished our goal for this week," he added.

Griffin and Swanson made an aerial connection for a 15-yard touchdown and Pawley reeled off an impressive 57-yard touchdown run for a 38-0 Spartan lead with 4:07 remaining in the first half. That's when the defense was responsible for another Wildcat safety as sophomore Ethan Hall blocked a Ponca punt by Mitchell Wilson out of the end zone for a 40-0 lead.
Griffin wrapped up his first half of work by tossing TD passes of 41 yards to Pawley and 37 yards to Swanson as the Spartans amassed 53 first half points.

Pawley produced rushing and receiving the ball. He rushed 10 times for 118 yards and one TD. He caught four passes for 108 yards and three scores, ending with 224 yards of total offense.

"We came in to see if they would come out with me on the screen passes and they didn't at first. Tanner made some really good reads on the plays," Pawley said. "They started covering those plays and then we were able to hit some slants and deep balls. The offensive line played well tonight, like they always do.

"We knew we needed to play well tonight. We've got to start progressing every week. I think we had stayed the same but now we've got to start moving uphill to be ready for the remainder of our schedule," he added.
Swanson had another productive game, finishing with seven grabs for 108 yards and two touchdowns. He had a couple of tough, impressive catches.

"We were trying to just work on our playbook and trying to stay basic tonight … we really worked on that this week," said Swanson, who played in front of family members from Ponca City and Blackwell. "I feel like I'm playing well right now and glad things worked out for us tonight."

NEXT GAME - Bixby hosts Bartlesville on Thursday, Oct. 20, in a district game starting at 7 p.m. at Lee Snider Stadium.
Bartlesville (3-3, 2-1) defeated Sapulpa (0-7, 0-4), 51-28, Friday night. In other league action Thursday night, Sand Springs (5-2, 3-0) stunned Muskogee (6-1, 3-1), 26-25, in Muskogee. Tulsa Washington (4-3, 2-1) was idle.

NEW TECH LOOK - Bixby tried a new approach to showing its players previous plays in between series. In the past, the players viewed I-Pads of previous but Friday night a tent was set up covering a large flat screen TV. "It's the same software we've been using. We have sideline software where in between series we can watch the plays," Coach Montgomery said. "We just came up with a new contraption instead of showing it on our I-Pads. It seems to be working well."

NOTABLES - Freshman running back Braden Roller, who rushed for 71 yards on 12 carries, ended the Spartans' touchdown parade with a 14-yard TD run at the 6:05 mark of the third quarter. … Ponca City's lone score came on a 61-yard, fourth quarter pass play from McDougal to Mitchell Niesen against Bixby reserves. …Clayton Barbour and Cade Cavender were credited with pass interceptions for the Spartans. … Wildcat punter Mitchell Wilson was an early highlight as he had punts of 50, 50 and 60 yards but later had a punt blocked for a safety. He ended with six punts for a 36.2-yard average.