Top-Ranked Hornets Blank Spartans, 21-0
10.28.17 by Ron Holt
The battle for the Class 6AII-District 2 championship between top-ranked Booker T. Washington and sixth-ranked Bixby boiled down to defensive execution.

With nine minutes left in the second quarter and throughout the second half, Bixby High's Spartans displayed hard-nosed defensive football in blanking the Hornets.

Booker T.'s defense, however, threw its second straight shutout and fourth this season. The dominating defensive effort and an early offensive eruption allowed the Hornets to upend the Spartans, 21-0, and capture the district title in front of a large, chilly Lee Snider Field crowd Friday night.

Washington, which scored 15 first quarter points and six early in the second stanza, improved to 8-1 overall and 5-0 in the district race while the Spartans dipped to 5-4 and 4-1 heading into next Friday's district showdown at Sand Springs.

The Hornets ended with 243 yards total offense, led by a 155-yard rushing effort. Bixby couldn't get untracked offensively as the Spartans ended with 115 total yards while being limited to 11 yards rushing on 33 attempts.

Bixby experienced limited offensive success but the lack of a running game caused numerous problems for senior quarterback Staton King, who was forced to scramble much of the evening.

"I was pleased with the way our defense played in the second half for sure. They put us in position to get back into the game but we just never could get anything going offensively," Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery said afterward. "We had trouble getting open and protecting.

"We made some mistakes but we were able to shut them down the second half. That's a good team we played. We're going to have to grow up and learn from it."
On their second possession, the Hornets took the lead on a 32-yard scoring pass from quarterback Phillip Wheatley to Dewayne Cooks. Josh McSoud's point-after kick gave the visitors a 7-0 lead with 5:21 showing in the first quarter.

On its next possession, Washington needed three plays to go up 15-0 as the Wheatley-to-Cooks combination clicked for a 38-yard, tackle-breaking touchdown burst with 3:03 showing in the first quarter.

Booker T. kept applying the offensive pressure early in the second quarter as Thomas Grayson broke free outside left and out-ran the Spartans for a 59-yard touchdown making it a 21-0 game at the 9:20 mark of the second quarter.

Bixby's defense stiffened from that point on as the determined Spartans turned back a couple of Hornet threats.

"The first half we were kind of bumpy but we made a few adjustments and came out in the second half and shut them down," said talented senior linebacker Coby Tillman, who was credited with 12 solo tackles. "From a defensive stand-point we've got to play like that for four quarters.

"Our defense just needs to do our jobs, if we do our job then those big plays don't happen. When we busted an assignment, they made plays. We're going to feed off this game in preparing for Sand Springs and into the playoffs," he added.
Teammate Colton Tafoya agreed, "We'll come back and be ready for Sand Springs," Tafoya said. "We came together in the locker room at halftime and talked about what we needed to do we tried our hardest the second half and shut them out. We knew it would be a fight from the beginning."

Bixby tried many things to put points on the board but the hosts failed to maintain any consistency. The Spartans went 0-for-5 on fourth down attempts, came up short on a fake punt and had a pair of passes picked off. Nothing worked.

"We competed and I thought we played good defense but offensively, up front, it was just one guy messing up at a time and we just never could get rolling," said senior offensive tackle Josh Owens. "They are fast they were just what they looked like on film. They are super athletic and made a lot of plays

"We've just got to move on to next week. We had great practices this past week and that's what we've got to do from here on."

NEXT GAME - Bixby wraps up the regular season at Sand Springs Friday, Nov. 3. Kickoff at Memorial Stadium is set for 7 p.m. Sand Springs routed Bartlesville, 55-13, at home Friday night to improve to 5-4 on the season and 3-2 in the district.
A Bixby win would assure the Spartans of a first-round home playoff game. If Bixby loses, the runner-up finish in the district behind Washington could be decided by points,

NOTABLES - Sand Springs' season has featured a 59-21 home loss to Pulaski Academy of Arkansas, a 21-20 home loss to Choctaw, a 28-14 win at Putnam City West, a 31-16 win at Sapulpa, a 26-21 win at Yukon, a 41-7 win at Ponca City, a 40-34 home loss to Muskogee and a win over Bartlesville. In other district games Nov. 3, Tulsa Washington visits Bartlesville, Muskogee goes to Ponca City and Sapulpa goes outside the league to host Broken Arrow. ... Bixby's Clayton Barbour intercepted a deflected Hornet pass early while teammate Brennan Presley picked off a Wheatley pass in the end zone in the third quarter. Washington's Grayson rushed 23 times for 119 yards and one TD while wide receiver Cooks caught three passes for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Bixby was hurt by a costly personal foul call early in the second quarter when it appeared the Spartans had stopped the Hornets and Tillman appeared to have stripped the ball from a Hornet running back but the play was ruled down.