Spartans' Stunning Start Sinks Barlesville, 63-14
10.22.16 by Ron Holt
Third-ranked Bixby struck early and often Thursday night at Lee Snider Stadium to remain involved in the Class 6AII-District 2
race after inflicting a 63-14 loss on visiting Bartlesville.
The first possession for each team was indicative of the direction this game would take.
Bartlesville (3-4, 2-2) earned three first downs during its 10-play, 56-yard drive which ended with a punt into the end zone, giving
Bixby (5-3, 3-1) the ball at its own 20.
The Spartans were aggressive from the outset as senior quarterback Tanner Griffin fired a pass to senior wide receiver Nic
Swanson on Bixby's first offensive play.
Swanson made an impressive, one-handed grab down the right sideline and shook off Bartlesville's Easton Hammonds to
complete the 80-yard touchdown. Jason Campbell's point-after gave Bixby a 7-0 lead with 8:07 showing in the first quarter.
Bixby's offensive approach resembled the first possession. The Spartans' scoring drives include three one-play drives, a pair of
two-play drives, a four-play drive, a six-play drive and an eight-play drive before the reserves' put together the final scoring drive.
Bartlesville, which ended with 342 yards of total offense, ran 79 plays compared to 53 for the Spartans, who amassed 504 total
yards. The difference was the Bruins averaged 4.3 yards per play while Bixby averaged 9.5 yards per play.
"As long as we score it doesn't matter to me. As long as our defense is holding and we're scoring I'm fine with that approach,"
said Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery of the quick strike ability of his team.
Griffin, the Spartans' quarterback, had a similar opinion of the sense of urgency on offense.
"It's fun, but I like to drive it with big plays along the way, too. Whatever it takes to get in the end zone is fine with me. We were
going to try to score on the first play. It worked and kind of got us rolling," added Griffin, who passed for 199 yards and three
touchdowns, completing seven-of-14 passes.
After Bartlesville's third possession ended in another punt, the Spartans drove from their own 19 to the Bruins' 48-yard-line where
Griffin fired a screen pass to running back Tucker Pawley, who weaved his way through the Bruin defense for a touchdown and
Bartlesville stopped Bixby's surge momentarily when quarterback Garrett Meidl found talented senior receiver A. J. Archambo for
a 38-yard TD pass play to narrow the gap to 14-7 with 7:07 showing.
The Bruins had little time to celebrate as Clayton Barbour returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to the Bartlesville 31-yard line.
On the first play, the accurate Griffin hit the sure-handed Swanson with a touchdown pass, increasing the lead to 21-7 with 6:46
left before halftime.
A pass interception by Bixby sophomore Cade Cavender presented the offense the ball at the Bruins 45. Six plays later, Pawley
scored from three yards out for a 28-7 lead with 22 seconds left in the first half.
The Spartans weren't done. Bartlesville's Matt Simpson fumbled the kickoff at the 29-yard line where linebacker Coby Tillman
returned it 25 yards to the Bruins' four with 10 seconds remaining.
Pawley, who finished with 107 yards rushing on 17 carries, scored on the next play to give the hosts a 35-7 halftime advantage.
"That was big, them fumbling the kickoff right before halftime and us being able to punch it in," Coach Montgomery said. "I felt
like we moved the football and executed really well. I felt like we blocked them well and protected Tanner.
"I think we cleaned some things up … we've got some things rolling for us right now, hopefully," he added.
Griffin scored on a one-yard sneak with 10:30 left in the third quarter and Pawley ran 11 yards for a TD at the 3:32 mark of the
third quarter to give Bixby a 49-7 lead.
A 38-yard reverse by freshman Brennan Presley was the key play prior to Griffin's score while an 18-yard pass from Griffin to
Presley set up Pawley's TD run.
Freshman Braden Roller capped off a two-play drive with 1:01 left in the third quarter as he out-ran the nearest defender for a
68-yard touchdown and 56-7 Spartan lead.
Sophomore Derek VanDyke ended Bixby's scoring with a seven-yard TD burst in the final minute of the game.
While Bixby's offense was efficient, the Spartans also had their moments on defense. Bartlesville passed for 322 yards but only
gained 20 yards rushing on 34 attempts. The Meidl-to-Archambo combination was the main offensive success for the Bruins.
Meidl passed for 322 yards and one touchdown while Archambo caught nine balls for 147 yards and one score.
Bixby had one turnover while the Bruins turned the ball over five times - pass interceptions by Colton Tafoya and Cavender and
fumble recoveries by Tillman, Zach Riddle and Ethan Hall.
"Our defense did really good tonight. We stopped the run and they did a lot of throwing. We got everyone communicating and
that really helped," said Tafoya, who spent the evening shadowing Archambo.
"I was matched up with him the whole night, that just seemed the best for our defense," said Tafoya. "He and I went head-to-head
last year so I just tried to stay up on him the whole night. We knew they liked the deep ball but when they went deep we just
tried to go up and contest them."
NEXT GAME: Bixby begins a rugged two-game swing to end the regular season, starting at Tulsa Washington on Friday (Oct.
28). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Washington (5-3, 3-1) won 17-12 at Sand Springs (5-3, 3-1) Thursday to set up a four-way district tie with Bixby, Muskogee (6-1,
3-1), Washington and Sand Springs. Bixby hosts Sand Springs in the regular season finale in two weeks.
"We had a few too many penalties (7-for-50 yards) tonight which is something we have to clean up," said Griffin. "We've got big
games coming up so we've got to get better like we've done every week. I feel good about our team going into those games."
In other district games Thursday, Sapulpa edged Ponca City, 31-27. Muskogee was idle.
CAMPBELL STEADY - Jason Campbell, a 5-9, 145-pound senior kicker, has steadily contributed for the Spartans with his
place-kicking success and his improved kickoffs. He kicked eight extra points against Bartlesville.
"It's pretty exciting … when the team plays well, I play well. It just takes an all-around effort from each guy to have everybody
execute on the PAT's to make sure the kick isn't blocked," said Campbell. "We have to get a good snap from Josh (Owens) and
a good hold by Staton (King) to make it happen.
"This summer I improved a lot on my kickoffs. I've gotten more consistent. I just worked hard at it and worked on getting stronger
in the weight room. It was just repetitions and a lot of work," he added.
Photos courtesy of Gregg Shipman, Shipman Photography