BIXBY — The visitor came in determined not to be a bug squished in Bixby’s road to wherever it takes the top-ranked Spartans.
Muskogee’s determination had them toe to toe for almost a half. But the gas in the Roughers’ tank was on its way to running dry in what would be a 63-21 verdict in what settled the top two spots in District 6AII-2.
Muskogee (8-2, 5-2) left Spartan Stadium heading home to host Choctaw, the third-place team out of 6AII-1, but with a salute from their conquerors. It wasn’t the closest game Bixby (10-0, 7-0) has had — that was 31-0 against Tulsa Washington — but maybe the biggest battle.
“They’re the best, if not one of the best we’ve seen,” said Oklahoma State-bound wideout Brennan Pressley. who had eight catches for 145 yards, including a 60-yarder that set up the Spartans’ first TD of the second half, and added a rushing touchdown. He also scored twice in the first half and set up a touchdown with a first-quarter interception that made it 14-0.
“Their physicality and everything they did (early) they hit us in the mouth. And we had to respond.”
Indeed, the Roughers laid some haymakers.
Ty Williams’ zone run off right tackle for 85 yards followed a blocked field goal by Caleb Webb and answered two Spartan touchdowns in the first three minutes.
Then, on the first play of the second quarter, Williams went up top to Jordan Bradley in stride covering 75 yards to get within 20-14. Then after another Spartan score, he found Bradley for 41 yards and two plays later, went to Kaunor Ashley for a 28-yard touchdown.
Again, Muskogee was within a TD at 28-21.
What followed was pivotal.
The Roughers forced a punt, but could only manage one first down before punting it back. Mason Williams found Trevon Holt in the flat. Holt, with five upfield blockers as an escort, zig-zagged behind the wall for a 43-yard gain to Muskogee’s 24. Pressley’s 10-yard TD run made it 35-21 with 1:46 until halftime.
With the way the Roughers had been able to strike quickly, that seemed time for one more answer. Instead they went three-and-out, punting with :50 left. Five plays later, Bixby quarterback Mason Williams had his fifth TD pass of the half — and final one of the contest — a 21-yarder to Barrett Daniel.
Mason Williams finished the half 24-of-31 for 357 yards. For the contest, he was 27-of-37 for 455 yards.
While the Roughers found ways to score, keeping Bixby’s offense off the field was the trade off. The Spartans’ linebacking corp was key in stopping Roughers running back Jimmie Coleman, who had 19 carries for just 57 yards.
“We’ve got to do a better job of helping our defense stay off the field,” said Webb, who had six catches for 145 yards, by far his best game this season. “It felt good (his receiving night) but wins are more important.”
MHS defensive lineman Davion Williams was feeling it.
“They had a good game plan with a lot of players to do it to switch out and get breathers, but we played physical the whole game,” he said, pocketing something going forward as well.
“Conditioning,” he said. “We need a lot of it if we see them again.”
The Spartans added two more TDs in the second half before giving way to the deepest part of their roster. On that drive, 147-pound sophomore Zach Blankenship carried for all 77 yards on ad 85-yard push, busting half-hearted tackle attempts. Backup quarterback Corbin Steele’s short run capped the scoring.
“That,” said Watkins, “was the only time all night we didn’t compete.”
Mostly full of heart, just out of gas.
The Spartans totaled 666 yards total offense. Muskogee finished with 379, 302 at the half.
“We were with them for a quarter and a half but it got to the point that we couldn’t stop them if we wanted to,” Watkins said. “They have 60 kids they’re sending out there, we’re playing with 25. You get (Pressley) in space and we don’t have enough in that situation to tackle him in space. That’s just a fact. We’ve been a pretty good tackling team on the year, but there’s a lot of people who haven’t tackled him. There’s a reason he’s going to OSU.”
Watkins was pleased with the passing game. Williams was 12-of-24 for 229 yards, highlighted by his connection with Bradley.
“Jordan was incredible. He ran some outstanding routes,” the head coach said. “We did show we can throw it, and we’ve got another passing team next week, so we got to shore up some things in our secondary.”
BIXBY 63, MUSKOGEE 21
Muskogee 7 14 0 0—21
Bixby 20 22 7 14—63
Bix-Braylin Pressley 44 pass from Mason Williams (Reis Vernon kick), 11:31
Bix-Luke Craeger 21 pass from Williams (Vernon kick) 9:04.
Mus-Ty Williams 85 run (Jacob Scheihing kick)
Bix-Craeger 25 pass from Mason Williams (kick failed), 0:27
Mus-Jordan Bradley 75 pass from Ty Williams (Scheihing kick), 11:49.
Bix-Brennan Pressley 12 pass from Mason Williams (conv good), 9:38
Mus-Kaunor Ashley 28 pass from Williams (Scheihing kick), 7:16.
Bix-Brennan Pressley 10 run (Vernon kick), 1:46.
Bix-Barrett Daniel 21 pass from Mason Williams (Vernon kick), 0:12.
Bix-Braylin Pressley 9 run (Vernon kick), 7:11.
Bix-Brennan Pressley 11 run (Vernon kick), 10:45.
Bix-Corbin Steele 1 run (Vernon kick), 5:25.
First Downs 12 32
Rushes-Yards 30-150 36-243
Passing Yards 229 423
Passes C-A-I 12-24-1 27-37-0
Punts-Avg. 7-33 1-27
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 6-50 10-85
Rushing: Mus, Ty. Williams 5-73 (TD). Bix, Zach Blankenship 6-91.
Passing: Mus, T. Williams 12-24-229-1 (2 TD). Bix, M. Williams 27-37-423-0 (5 TD).
Receiving: Mus, Webb 6-145 (TD). Bix, Brennan Pressley 8-145 (TD).