Late Bixby Eruption Topples Jenks, 35-18
9.2.17 by Ron Holt
For the second straight year, Bixby High had victory within its grasp against longtime nemesis and Class 6A-1 power Jenks.

A year ago, Bixby's late lead disappeared in the final seconds of a 38-34 season opening loss at Jenks. It was a disappointment the Spartans vowed not to experience again.
In front of an overflow, standing room only crowd at Lee Snider Stadium Friday night, the Spartans dominated in the first half, fell behind early in the fourth quarter but returned to dominance the remainder of the final stanza in toppling the Trojans, 35-18.
It was the Spartans, 1-0, who made the key plays this time. It was the Spartans who played hard-nosed defense and opportunistic offense when it counted. And, it was the 2017 Spartans who beat Jenks, 0-2, for the first time in 40 years.
"As bad as I hate to say it, I think last year showed our guys we can play with these guys. We're at a point in our program where we can be competitive with these guys," said eighth-year Spartan head coach Loren Montgomery. "I think everybody is excited it was overdue.

"To be able to play defense and run the ball down there when we needed was great as was overcoming the adversity we faced."
Senior Staton King, starting for the first time at quarterback, added, "Forty years is a long time. There's been a lot of guys come through here that didn't beat Jenks. It's unreal to be the team to finally beat them."
Trailing 14-3 at halftime, Jenks went on a 73-yard, 10-play drive capped off by quarterback Ian Corwin's one-yard TD run. A two-point conversion run by Tyler Wallace trimmed the deficit to 14-11.
King was intercepted by Noah Strong on Bixby's next possession and the Trojans, sparked by a roughing the passer penalty on BHS, took the lead at 18-14 on Jacob Shelley's five-yard TD with 11:50 left in the fourth quarter.
The tide turned after JHS was guilty of a hit to the head after a sack of King, allowing Bixby to keep the ball at the Trojans' 41. On the next play, Pawley found daylight outside for a 41-yard TD. Sophomore Reis Vernon's point-after kick gave BHS a 21-18 lead with 9:49 remaining.
Two plays later, Corwin bobbled the snap with Bixby junior Cade Cavender recovering at the Trojan 32. King and senior receiver Eric Calton-Watkins highlighted the next drive as the two combined for a 21-yard reception and a 17-yard touchdown pass play for a 28-18 lead at the 7:24 mark. Calton-Watkins made two impressive grabs.

"Those were my first two catches of the game, "Calton-Watkins said. "Staton knows where I'm going to be and knows how to throw it to me. I knew I had to be ready when needed sometimes you've just got to be a dude and go get it. It's such an amazing feeling."
Pawley, who finished with 175 yards on 21 attempts, put the game away after breaking free on a 34-yard TD burst with 2:48 left in the game.
"We had no doubt that we were going to win the game. We knew it would be a hard game and we both made mistakes but at the end of the day we came out on top," Pawley said. "That's just part of our program. We're going to keep on pounding and pounding and pounding to the very end. We're not going to stop."
Bixby's defense recovered a Jenks fumble - the Trojans' fourth turnover - in the final seconds as the offense to run out the clock.
"Our defense played with physicality from start to finish, we didn't let up once," said senior linebacker Colby Tillman, who was credited with 11.5 tackles, seven solo stops and 1.5 sacks. "They scored a couple but we came back and finished the job.
"I can't even describe the feelings I have going right now. I have so many emotions for my teammates and for myself. But, this is the start of the season we've just got to finish," he added.

Standout senior offensive lineman Bryce Bray admitted he knew the Spartans would regain the momentum after losing it. "It's surreal right now but I knew we'd get the momentum back," Bray said. "I knew we had this game from the first kickoff.
"Once they went up on us, everyone knew we needed to put our foot on the gas pedal to win this game. Last year, we thought we could beat Jenks but for the last two weeks we've been focused on beating Jenks and we backed it up," he added.
Jenks seized the momentum early, taking the opening kickoff to the Bixby eight-yard-line where the Trojans settled for Max Merritt's 25-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
The Trojans appeared headed for another score on its second possession before Bixby sophomore Brennan Presley deflected a Corwin pass that was intercepted by teammate Colyn Farley at the BHS 47.
A 14-yard scramble by King, a 19-yard run by Pawley and a 13-yard pass play from King to Zach Riddle paved the way for Pawley's two-yard TD burst and Bixby's 7-3 lead.

With 22 seconds left before halftime, King received excellent protection from the offensive line before finding Presley for a stunning 60-yard touchdown pass, giving BHS a 14-3 intermission lead.
"The first half we were feeling good since we were ahead but the second half didn't start very good," King said. "But, once we got the momentum back we took it from there that was a big-time turnaround. Beating Jenks is everything I thought it would be."

NEXT GAME - Bixby remains home Friday, Sept. 8, to host Bentonville, Ark., with kickoff set for 7 p.m. Bentonville, which beat the Spartans 44-34 last year at home, opened the season last Friday with a 35-8 loss at Rockhurst High of Kansas City, Mo.

NOTABLES - "We left a few points out there tonight," Coach Montgomery said. "But, we won and I'm going to enjoy it. This should be a really good film because when you play a team like this that's so well coached it helps you." Bixby amassed 390 total offensive yards while limiting Jenks to 282 yards. King was 15-of-25 passing for 191 yards and two touchdowns, while Corwin was 15-of-24 passing for 203 yards and one TD. Presley was BHS's top receiver with five grabs for 91 yards and one score. Cavender finished with seven tackles, while junior defensive end Ethan Hall had two sacks. Vernon, a punter and place-kicker, had a productive evening, hitting all five extra points while punting four times for a 42.5 yards per kick average.