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UNBEATENS BIXBY, STILLWATER IN 6A-II TITLE REMATCH

Unbeatens Bixby, Stillwater In 6A-II Title Rematch

RON HOLT

Bixby Athletics | 12/2/2019

PHOTO CREDIT: Bixby Athletics

The matchup many predicted throughout the season materialized when top-ranked Bixby and second-ranked Stillwater disposed of semifinal opponents two weeks ago to set up a Class 6A-II State Championship rematch on Friday, Dec. 6.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Wantland Stadium in Edmond. The game will be broadcast by The Buzz, 1340AM with Shawn Tiemann handling the play-by-play and Mark Wozniak the color commentary.
Bixby is 12-0 and riding a 24-game winning streak into its sixth straight appearance in the Class 6A-II title game since the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association split Class 6A into two divisions in 2014.
The Spartans, ranked No. 80 nationally by MaxPreps, have won four of the past five state championships, including rolling past Stillwater, 34-13, in the 2018 weather-delayed state championship at Owasso.
Stillwater is also 12-0 this season and making its second straight appearance in the championship game. The Pioneers’ only loss last season was to Bixby in the title game. SHS, ranked No. 190 nationally by MaxPreps, returns veteran playmakers who have played integral roles the past two seasons.
Stillwater is averaging 59.5 points per game offensively, while Bixby averages 57.6 points per outing. SHS is allowing an average of 10 points per game, while the Spartans, who faced a demanding non-district schedule, allow an average of 11 points per outing while recording three shut outs.
Stillwater returns junior record-setting running back Qwontrel Walker, senior quarterback Gunnar Gundy and senior receiver Anthony Bland, along with several seasoned defensive players. The Pioneers are balanced offensively and feature a defense which has contributed by forcing turnovers.
“Obviously, they have a ton of guys back offensively,” Bixby’s 10th-year head football coach Loren Montgomery said. “The running back is the best running back we’ve faced, and Gundy is continuing to get better.
“Defensively, they have a lot of guys back and they run a difficult scheme on defense … they are better on defense. They are aggressive on special teams, too. They’ll try to block every punt. I’d say they are a better football team overall,” Coach Montgomery said.
“They are more confident than ever, and they’ve been in the championship game last year … so they are excited to be here. I don’t know that anybody has slowed them. The Pioneers are as advertised.”
Stillwater, led by ninth-year head coach Tucker Barnard, lost several starters in the offensive line to graduation last year, but Montgomery doesn’t see any weakness this season. Bixby, likewise, has shown steady improvement in its offensive line play this season.
Walker, a 5-9, 206-pound running back, scored on a two-yard run with 4:21 showing in the first quarter in last year’s title game and added a six-yard TD run after a blocked punt with 2:56 left in the second quarter as SHS tied the game at 13-all at halftime. He ended with 145 yards on 31 carries.
In last year’s game, Gundy, a 6-2, 195-pound left-hander, was 9-of-20 passing for 67 yards and was intercepted late by Bixby’s Clayton Barbour. Bland, a 6-3, 194-pound senior, finished the game with six catches for 44 yards.
Stillwater’s defense limited Spartan quarterback Mason Williams to 14-of-20 passing for 85 yards but BHS also did its damage on the ground. Cade Cavender, a Spartan receiver and defensive back last year, ran the wildcat formation to perfection, gaining 222 yards on 17 carries, scoring on runs of 60, four and one yards before Brennan Presley polished off the win with a seven-yard TD sprint with 1:07 remaining.
Bixby impressively captured season-opening road games at Mansfield (Texas) Timberview and at Jenks this season, while being focused and prepared to play throughout the season. The Spartans appear healthy and focused for another championship test.
“We definitely had a difficult non-district schedule and I’ve been pleased with the way this team has played this season,” Coach Montgomery said of the Spartans. “One of the things that has been the most
fun about this group is that they practice well. They also stay focused and because of that they continue to get a lot better. I like our team.”
SPARTAN SCHEDULE – This season, Bixby won at Mansfield Timberview (77-44), at Jenks (57-7), at Putnam City (72-0), vs. Sapulpa (54-10), at Booker T. Washington (31-0), vs. Ponca City (49-3), at Bartlesville (61-14), vs. Sand Springs (75-0), at Shawnee (64-6), vs. Muskogee (63-21), vs. Midwest City (42-10, state quarterfinals) and vs. Del City (47-19, state semifinals at Putnam City).
PIONEER SCHEDULE – This season, Stillwater won at Edmond Memorial (42-7), vs. Norman North (55-14), at Southmoore (66-0), vs. Deer Creek-Edmond (49-10), at Midwest City (49-14), vs. Choctaw (74-14), vs. Lawton (62-14), at Putnam West (61-0), at Putnam City (69-6), vs. Del City (48-23), vs. Sapulpa (77-6, state quarterfinals) and vs. Choctaw (62-12, state semifinals at Yukon).
NOTABLES – In last year’s game, Bixby amassed 366 yards of total offense, while Stillwater had 207. The Pioneers also lost a fumble and had a pass intercepted while the Spartans had zero turnovers. … Last year was Stillwater’s first championship game appearance since 1977. … In three previous Class 6A-II playoff games, Bixby routed SHS, 61-28, in the 2014 quarterfinals; 41-14 in the 2017 quarterfinals and 34-13 in the 2018 state finals. In those three games, Bixby averaged 45.3 points per game and allowed 18.3 points a game. … In the last two playoff games against Bixby, Stillwater’s Gundy passed for 67 yards in 2018 and 70 yards in 2017 with no touchdowns and one interception. In two playoff games, Walker rushed for 145 yards and two touchdowns in 2018 and rushed for 255 yards on 23 carries and scored once in 2017.
BIXBY LEADERS – Junior quarterback Mason Williams, a two-year starter, has passed for 3,323 yards and 45 touchdowns this season. He’s completed 215-of-285 pass attempts, a 75 percent average. Sophomore Braylin Presley leads BHS in rushing with 1,261 yards and 21 TDs. He’s averaging 105.1 yards per game.
Brennan Presley is the Spartans’ receiving leader with 82 catches for 1,398 yards and 23 TDs. He’s averaging 127.1 yards per game. Luke Creeger has 48 catches for 775 yards and 14 TDs.
Defensively, senior linebacker Brody Sartin has 106 total tackles, including 54 unassisted stops. Senior free safety Trevon Holt has 98 total tackles, 36 solo, and three interceptions. Senior linebacker Bear Daniel has 97 total tackles, 43 solo, and one fumble caused. Bre. Presley leads BHS with seven pass interceptions. Senior Jordan Reagan and junior Tanner Doyle also have three pass thefts.
Senior kicker Reis Vernon has hit on 77-of-78 extra point attempts and three-of-four field goal tries for 86 points.
SHS LEADERS – Junior Qwontrel Walker has carried the ball 189 times for 1,816 yards and 30 touchdowns this season. Quarterback Gunnar Gundy has completed 205-of-273 passes for 3,247 yards and 44 TDs while being intercepted twice. Senior Anthony Bland has 92 catches for 1,236 yards and 20 TDs.
Defensively, senior defensive back Kobe Holley leads the team with seven pass interceptions, including three in the state semifinals against Choctaw. Linebacker Sean Preston has 108 total tackles, 16 unassisted, one interception and one sack.
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