Defense is a big force in Bixby. So big that it gave up only one touchdown during the month of September.One of the key players is senior Ethan Hall, a 6’3”, 225-pound linebacker. He has made an impact for the Spartans since moving to Bixby from Edmond North before his sophomore season. That year, he recorded 93 tackles, 11 hurries and two and a half sacks.Hall’s season ended early last year when he incurred an injury to his foot in the fourth game. “We were facing Westmoore at Westmoore. It was the third play of the game and I made a tack-le, then the whole pile jumped on me, and I kid you not, my shin went all the way down and touched the top of my foot,” Hall said. “That cut me short. Doctors said it’s a tough injury to come back from, but I feel 100 percent fast-er and I feel better than ever,” he added.Hall admits that watching the rest of the year from the sidelines was hard, “but, there’s nothing I could do about it. There is no need to sit there and dwell on it when you can’t go back and change it. I just rehabbed really hard to get back on the field.” Through rehabilitation, Hall did towel curls and walking in the pool and later played golf. “Once it got better, my dad and I went to golf courses and I started walking around on it. I love golf, so I enjoyed it all. You got to en-joy everything about it. Getting hurt, rehabbing back, you got to love every part of the game, ev-erything it gives you.How does golf help with foot-ball?“It calms you down,” Hall said. “You don’t get stressed out so much.”Since moving to Bixby, Hall has seen it as a good fit. “I love it here,” he said. “Just the environment, the fans and my teammates, and, the boss helps you to be a better man and improve your game. This envi-ronment will help you build all-around character.”One of the teams Bixby lost to during a three-game losing streak in 2017 was Putnam City. The Spartans (4-1 overall, 2-0 in Dis-trict 6AII-2 and ranked fifth as of the end of September) played the Pirates again on Sept. 15 and blew them out in a 64-0 shutout. Hall said there was no thought on revenge. “We just practice hard every week,” he said. “We just play the game and don’t really worry about the score.”Following the victory against Putnam City, Bixby got wins over Sapulpa (45-0) and Booker T. Washington (21-7), who was ranked second at the time of the game. Hall also has duties as a tight end on offense. He relishes mak-ing the best of both roles. “At tight end, I just catch the ball and they expect you to run over people,” Hall said. “On defense, you got to be su-per-physical and tackle. You got to be everywhere on defense. At tight end, you just run your route, catch the ball and take off run-ning.” Everything that football can bring is what Hall likes about the game.“All the friends you make and the coaches you meet,” he said. “It’s like you meet a bunch of mentors and stuff that can help guide you through life easier than if I wasn’t playing football.” The Oakland Raiders are Hall’s favorite NFL team, but, there are no favorite players.“I just like to go out there and be the best version of me and not re-ally try to focus on other people’s style of play,” he said. Hall believes the Spartans have the talent to bring a State Cham-pionship back to Bixby after coming up short on winning their fourth straight title last season.“If both sides of the ball are going to be amazing, if we keep practicing hard every single day, then I don’t see why we can’t go win state. We got a lot of good talent. Offensive line, D-line, ev-erywhere.”Having outscored their three straight foes, 130-7, it is showing.
Bixby will play at Ponca City (Oct. 5), host Bartlesville (Oct. 12), travel to Sand Springs (Oct. 18), meet Shawnee at home (Oct. 26) and close out the regular sea-son at Muskogee (Nov. 2). “We’re just going to take every game the same,” Hall said. “Ev-ery game is a big game. That’s what you got to do, focus on one week one game at a time, and that’s all you really can do, is play your hardest and good things will come.”