A few days after Bixby head coach Loren Montgomery won his third straight 6A-II state football title and his sixth in the past seven years, he took a few moments to reflect on what was truly a challenging and rewarding season for the Spartans.
“It was a different year,” admitted Montgomery, whose Spartan squad outlasted a tough Choctaw team, 17-14, in the title game. “A lot of the peripheral stuff we do in our program, like banquets, team dinners, retreats, we didn’t do this year, so it was kind of just pure football. And you know what? I think our kids still enjoyed it without all that stuff.”
“It’s kind of surreal that we made it through the year,” Montgomery added. “We’re just thrilled that we had such a successful year, not only on the football field but just kind of navigating all the Corona virus stuff.”
With the recent title victory, Bixby extended its winning streak to an impressive 36 games.
The Spartans didn’t face an easy path to the title game either, as they disposed of 6A-I state champion Jenks, 6A-I semifinalist Union and 5A favorite Carl Albert in the first four weeks of the season.
Week five was a state championship preview as Bixby held off Choctaw, 24-13.
“We knew they were talented,” said Montgomery of the Yellowjackets.
“They had several Division I players and good athletes all over the place. They had a good quarterback (sophomore Steele Wasel) and they were young. We knew going into the championship game that they were going to be tough and be better than the first time we played them just because they had so much youth and had gotten more experience.”
Junior running back Braylin Presley was the offensive star of the title game, rushing for 206 yards and a touchdown. The 5-9, 165-pound speedster finished the season with more than 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Mason Williams capped off a brilliant prep career with a stellar senior season. He finished 36-1 as a starter, and threw for more than 9,000 yards and 110 touchdowns.
“Mason, in three years, lost one ball game,” said Montgomery. “His very first start as a Bixby Spartan against Jenks in 2018. The leadership he provided us was amazing. He’s a quiet leader, has quiet confidence and has the ability to make everyone around him better.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to coach a lot of quarterbacks and Mason is going to make an excellent quarterback at the next level for whoever gets him,” Montgomery added. “He’s a great player and continues to grow. He was a three-year starter in our system and he got better every time he was on the field.”
Presley, Williams and the Spartan offense garnered much of the attention this season, but Bixby’s defense was impressive all year long as well. In the title game, the defense held Choctaw scoreless in the second half and thwarted the Yellowjackets’ final drive with sacks on the final two plays of the game.
“Our defense grew all year,” remarked Montgomery. “What people don’t realize is that we only had two returning starters on defense. We had nine new faces out there, so the way those guys grew and improved was just overwhelming.”
After celebrating the championship victory on the field, it didn’t take Montgomery long to start thinking about next season.
“I think I started thinking about it on the bus ride home,” joked Montgomery. “We will enjoy the championship this whole Christmas break for sure, then start plowing forward for next year.”