Fast-Starting Spartans Rout Ponca City, 68-7
10.14.17 by Ron Holt
It didn't take long to realize Bixby High was prepared to play Friday night in a Class 6AII-District 2 game with visiting Ponca City at Lee Snider Field.

In a span of 4:21, the Spartans scored 28 points en route to a 48-point first quarter eruption in settling the issue early against the out-manned Wildcats, 68-7. Bixby scored with 9:20, 8:36, 7:13 and 4:59 left on the clock in the first quarter.

After increasing the lead to 62-0 at halftime, Bixby's starters watched the second half from the sidelines as numerous reserves played. The Spartans improved to 4-3 overall and remains in contention for a district championship with a 3-0 league record.

A week after being disappointed in the lack of early focus against Sapulpa, the sixth-ranked Spartans appeared determined to avoid a slow start, on both sides of the ball, against the Wildcats.

Three plays into the game, Ponca City's Jacob DeFoor fumbled and Bixby's Ryan Kerr recovered at Ponca's 23-yard line. Five plays later, senior Tucker Pawley scored from one-yard out. Reis Vernon's point-after kick gave BHS a quick 7-0 lead.

It was the first action for Pawley since he was injured at Putnam City in the third game of the season.

"It felt awesome to get back out there. I was ready to go to get back into it. It wasn't any fun standing on the sideline watching," said Pawley, who rushed eight times for 68 yards and two touchdowns. "It was good to knock off some rust. The plan was to run me a few series to get me back into the game. I feel great."

Three plays into its next possession, the Wildcats' DeFoor fumbled again with Bixby senior Coby Tillman recovering at the Wildcats' 25. On the first play, senior quarterback Staton King hit sophomore Brenna Presley with a short pass that became a 25-yard touchdown. Vernon's point-after increased the lead to 14-0.

A short Ponca City punt and 10-yard return by Tillman gave the Spartans the ball at Ponca's 18-yard line. Three plays later, Braden Roller ran in from three yards out and Vernon's conversion kick gave the Spartans a 21-0 lead with 7:13 left in the first quarter.

Ponca City (1-6, 0-5) had to punt on its next possession and Clayton Barbour found daylight to his left, returning the punt 51 yards for a touchdown and 28-0 Spartan lead with 4:59 left in the opening stanza. The beat was on.

Bixby tacked on a two-yard TD run by Pawley, a 53-yard punt return for a TD by Barbour and a 49-yard TD pass play from King to Kordel Tyler with 14.7 seconds remaining to expand the Spartan lead to 48-0 after one quarter.

"We thought we could maybe break a punt return. I knew my guys would block for me. All I basically had to do was make the first guy miss because of the good blocking," said Barbour, who had one pass reception for 23 yards while also starting in the secondary. "Both returns were well blocked.

"We knew we needed to play better from the start and we worked hard in practice this week. We just need to go out like we're playing the best team on our schedule every time."

The Spartans kept their collective feet on the pedal in the second quarter as King connected with junior Cade Cavender for touchdown pass plays of 34 and two yards, the latter coming with six seconds left for a 62-0 lead at intermission.

"It was a little cleaner tonight and we protected the football a little better," said a pleased Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery. "We still had some mistakes with the defensive off-sides but we were out there running around pretty good at the start. We talked about getting off to a better start this week.

"I thought Staton played well and I felt like we blocked pretty good tonight, I'll know more when we look at the film. We got Tucker back and it was good for him to shake off some rust and we got everybody into the game which was good."
King had a productive outing, completing 10-of-15 passes for 186 yards and four touchdowns in a half of work.

Cavender, who also starts in the defensive secondary, led the Spartan receivers with four catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns.

"After our last game, Coach Montgomery told us we made 32 mistakes the first half so we knew we couldn't have that again. We came out with our best practices of the year," said Cavender. "We thought we could hit on some passes coming into the game. We played pretty good but can always get better."

NEXT GAME - It will be a short week for the Spartans as they prepare for a district trip to Bartlesville (2-4, 1-2) on Thursday (Oct. 19). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Custer Stadium. Oklahoma high schools are out of school Thursday and Friday for fall break.
Bartlesville turned back Sapulpa, 9-2, on the road Friday night for the second win of the season. This season, the Bruins opened the season with a 30-25 win at McAlester. BHS then lost to Owasso (56-14), at Cascia Hall (48-29), at Muskogee (71-6) and fell at home to Ponca City (14-12).

DISTRICT NOTES - In district action Friday, Muskogee captured a 40-34 victory at Sand Springs. In other district games scheduled Thursday (Oct. 19), top-ranked Booker T. Washington hosts Sand Springs and Sapulpa hosts Ponca City. Muskogee is idle Thursday.

NOTABLES - Bixby's defense shut out the Wildcats and limited the visitors to 211 total offensive yards. Ponca City's lone score came on a 81-yard fumble return by Daylan Hawkins at the 7:15 mark of the third quarter. Teammate Josh Fairbanks kicked the conversion. Ten different Spartans rushed the ball Friday while eight Spartans caught a pass. ,,, Ponca City was hampered by five turnovers.