Spartans Open 2016 Season At Jenks
8.30.16 by Ron Holt
While there is always room for additional preseason improvement, Bixby High's Spartans are prepared to open the 2016 season Friday at defending Class 6A-I State Champion Jenks. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. at the Trojans' Hunter-Dwelley Stadium.
Bixby, under seventh-year head coach Loren Montgomery, ended preseason scrimmages last Thursday (Aug. 25) at Yukon against the host Millers and Choctaw.

Against Yukon, the Spartans were balanced and sharp offensively as they defeated Yukon, 28-14, in a half game scrimmage. Bixby dominated the scrimmage as Yukon scored its final touchdown with 53 seconds left against BHS reserves.
Against Choctaw, the Spartans played numerous reserves in an attempt to identify backups on the depth chart.
Bixby's senior quarterback Tanner Griffin threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Zach Riddle and Jason Campbell added the conversion kick for a 7-0 BHS lead at the 7:33 mark of the first quarter against Yukon. Griffin connected with senior receiver Nic Swanson for a 15-yard TD with 2:51 left in the opening period for a 14-0 lead.

In the second quarter, freshman running back Braden Roller scored from two yards out with 5:14 showing for a 21-0 lead and Eric Johnson converted a screen pass from Griffin into a 40-yard touchdown burst for a 28-7 lead with 3:13 left in the second quarter.
"It was a good scrimmage and we got a lot of reps and played a lot of people," Coach Montgomery said afterward. "I thought Tanner did a good job of running the offense and I thought Tucker (Pawley) ran really well. The offensive line looked like it played pretty well.

"We've got some things to clean up on defense and we'll work on those this week. We played a lot of reserves against Choctaw. We challenged them to push the people in front of them to make them better players or to take their position," he said.
The Spartans, who won back-to-back Class 6A-II State Championships, will be underdogs against the Trojans, who have won four consecutive Class 6A-I state titles under head coach Allan Trimble.

Jenks has a game under its belts as the Trojans broke open a close contest late last Friday in a 41-23 victory at Owasso.
The Trojans led 21-16 before senior Jordon Curtis returned an intercepted pass 25 yards for a touchdown. Jenks tacked on two more quick TDs for a 41-16 lead.

Bixby enters the season with several seasoned playmakers on offense and on defense but also looking to fill holes vacated by graduation.

Griffin returns at quarterback for the third season. Last year, he passed for 3,248 yards and 21 touchdowns. He completed 233-of-405 passes for a .575 percentage.

BHS lost significant offensive firepower with the graduation of running back Nic Roller, who rushed for 1,900 yards and 36 touchdowns, and wide receiver Cade Cabbiness, who caught 73 passes for 1,067 yards and seven TDs.
Pawley, a junior, rushed for 506 yards and scored six TDs a year ago, will start at running back while Swanson, who has impressed in the preseason, caught 19 passes for 249 yards with one TD in 2015.
BHS has returning talent in the offensive line, led by 6-6, 299-pound junior Bryce Bray.

The defense will be led by senior defensive lineman Brendon Evers, who finished last season with 72 total tackles, 20 unassisted, four sacks for 21 yards in losses and was the team leader in hurries with 34. Junior linebacker Coby Tillman is a returnee who finished with 159 tackles, including 87 unassisted. He also had 5.5 sacks for 24 yards in losses.

Campbell returns as place-kicker and Griffin returns as the punter. Last year, Campbell accounted for 52 points and was 4-for-4 on field goal tries. Griffin averaged 40.59 yards a punt last season.

LAST YEAR - In last year's meeting with Jenks, the Spartans used a 22-yard field goal by Campbell and a 15-yard TD run by Roller to trail the Trojans, 13-10, midway through the second quarter. Jenks reeled off 24 points in securing a 37-10 halftime lead en route to a 58-24 win.

NEXT GAME - Bixby remains on the road in Week Two, traveling to Bentonville, Ark. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Bixby's seventh-year head football coach Loren Montgomery and the Bixby Spartans, shown at last week's scrimmage at Yukon, open the 2016 season Friday at Jenks. (Photo by Ron Holt)