Putnam City Survives Frustrated Spartans, 37-35
9.16.17 by Ron Holt
OKLAHOMA CITY - Murphy's Law was in effect here Thursday night at Putnam City Stadium.
Anything that can go wrong will go wrong had to be Bixby High's sentiments most of the
Spartans' non-district battle with unbeaten Putnam City. Mistakes offensively, defensively and
in the kicking game were magnified as the Spartans fought an uphill battle all evening.
Bixby finished with five turnovers, suffered nine costly penalties for 110 yards, lost starting
tailback Tucker Pawley to a second quarter leg injury and had no answers for Putnam City's
junior quarterback A. J. Newsome, who passed for 415 yards and five touchdowns.
But, with 59 seconds remaining in the game, Bixby's frantic rally ended in a failed two-point
conversion pass from quarterback Staton King to wide receiver Brennan Presley as the
eighth-ranked Pirates survived this wild Class 6A-II battle, 37-35.
Top-ranked Bixby, 1-2, stayed within striking distance at 30-22 thanks to an impressive
interception by Presley, which set up Coby Tillman's six-yard touchdown burst and his run for
a two-point conversion with 1:15 left in the third quarter.
Bixby's defense overcame two 15-yard penalties on the Pirates' next drive to force a punt early
in the fourth quarter. Bixby's determination to pull even, however, was derailed by yellow flags
on consecutive plays.
A 35-yard touchdown pass from King to Presley was nullified by a personal foul penalty on the
Spartans. On the next play, King again found Presley behind the Pirates' secondary for a
50-yard touchdown. But, another personal foul penalty erased that score. Instead of possibly
tying the game, Bixby faced second-and-44.
After a quick punt by King, the 3-0 Pirates appeared to have sealed the win when Newsome
passed to senior wide receiver Keair Wilkins for an 83-yard touchdown pass play with 6:59
remaining for a 37-22 lead. It capped off an impressive night for Newsome, who was 23-of-38
passing, and Wilkins, who caught 10 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns.
Bixby rallied as King passed 12 yards to Cade Cavendar for a TD and Reis Vernon kicked the
conversion for a 37-29 deficit with 4:21 showing.
After the defense forced a stop, the Spartans' offense moved to the Pirates' six-yard line where
King connected with Ryan Kerr for a touchdown with 59 seconds left. But, a two-point
conversion pass from King intended for Presley failed and PC ran out the remaining time to
avenge last year's 56-20 loss.
Presley, a sophomore, was a consistent, productive player for the Spartans. He took a reverse
32 yards, caught five passes for 38 yards, returned a punt 18 yards to set up Bixby's final TD
and intercepted two Pirate passes. His performance was little consolation.
"We had a tough time last week and we just didn't play well but coach told us all week to just
keep our head up, stay positive and still believe we could win the game. We did that but it
wasn't enough," Presley said afterward.
"It hurt that we had the touchdowns called back because that would have helped the team and
getting the win is all that mattered," he added. "After the Jenks' win, we had our heads a little
full but the Bentonville game humbled us a little
this game just gives us fuel for the fire next
Putnam City's big play ability was evident on the Pirates first series as wide receiver Jawaun
Bell grabbed a tipped pass from Newsome and outran the Spartan defenders for a 71-yard
touchdown at the 12:00 mark. The Pirates' lead grew to 9-0 after they blocked a Bixby punt
out of the end zone.
Following the safety, the Pirates increased their lead to 16-0 after an 11-yard TD pass from
Newsome to Wilkins.
Bixby's offense came to life and narrowed the gap to 16-14 after a five-yard TD run by Tillman
and a one-yard burst by Pawley at the 11:23 mark of the second quarter. The Spartans'
celebration was short-lived as the Newsome-to-Wilkins combo clicked for an 85-yard
touchdown and 23-14 lead at halftime.
On its first series of the third quarter, Putnam City used a 15-yard TD pass play from
Newsome to Wilkins to widen its lead, 30-14.
NEXT GAME - Bixby remains on the road Thursday, Sept. 21, to play Class 6A-I power
Westmoore, starting at 7 p.m. at Moore Stadium. Westmoore has beaten Moore (50-18),
Southmoore (53-6) and hosted Edmond North Friday night. The Jaguars, 6-5 in 2016, lost to
the Spartans, 70-28, last season.
INJURIES - Senior Spartan tailback Tucker Pawley, a two-year starter, went to the sidelines
with 10:20 left in the second quarter after suffering a leg injury. He rushed for 63 yards on 13
carries prior to the injury. Senior wide receiver Eric Calton-Watkins suffered a shoulder injury
late. The status of both will be determined this week. Senior offensive lineman Bryce Bray and
senior defensive back Cameron Stephens returned to the field against Putnam City.
NOTABLES - Bixby had more total offense (463 yards to 429), more plays (86 to 58) and more
first downs (28 to 16) than the Pirates.
BHS had four passes intercepted and lost one
fumble. PC had two passes intercepted.
Putnam City kicker Julian DeLoera misfired on
field goal attempts of 34 and 37 yards.
Sophomore running back Braden Roller played well
after Pawley was sidelined. He finished with 95 yards on 19 carries.
Senior linebacker Coby
Tillman had four solo tackles and 3.5 tackles for losses.