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Tucker Pawley Hopes for Another Bixby Title

GTR Sports Writer

GAINING VALUABLE YARDAGE: Bixby’s Tucker Pawley avoids a Putnam City defender earlier this season. The Spartans won the game, 56-20.

Courtesy Bixby Athletic Department

When it came to running, Bixby thrived on the efforts Nic Roller last year.

But he has since graduated and gone. New talents have stepped up in the backfield, including Tucker Pawley (6-0, 191), who has emerged as the go-to running back for the Spartans, who stand at 4-3 overall and 2-1 in District 6AII-2 as of this wrting.

Through seven games, Pawley has rushed for 1,047 yards on 142 carries.

He first started as a wide receiver halfway through last season, then rotated in at running back when Roller was out with an injury or if Bixby was up by a large margin.

“I’m just doing my part,” Pawley says. “I give a lot of my yards to my offensive line. I wouldn’t have half the yards I have right now without the holes they give me. Ryan Kerr, Bryce Bray, Josh Owens, all the guys up front, they give me big holes, but I’ve trying to get better every week and just try to do whatever I can to help the team.”

While giving credit to the guys up front, Pawley loves being in the backfield.

“I love working next to one of my best friends, (quarterback) Tanner Griffin, and I love just being in the moment of the game, getting the football and just doing whatever I can to help us out by scoring or getting the first down on fourth down, or getting a couple of yards whenever we need it, or getting a long one, just whatever we need. I just love helping the team out.”

The Spartans’ losses have been close heartbreakers. They dropped their first two to Jenks (38-34) and Bentonville (Ark.) (44-34), before bouncing back with four wins in their last five games. They have dominated with an explosive offense in their victories, having outscored Putnam City (56-20), Westmoore (70-28), Sapulpa (62-17) and Ponca City (60-6) by an average score of 62-18.

But the loss in that stretch was a hard one to take. It came to Muskogee, who is battling with them for the district race for the championship. The Spartans owned a 28-17 advantage but gave up 28 points in the final quarter, leading up to a 45-42 loss.

“In the fourth quarter, we didn’t finish,” Pawley says. “The loss was really big to us. It made us realize we got to step it up.

“Everything was going our way in the Ponca City game,” Pawley says. “We’ve really been focusing up ever since the loss to Muskogee. We’ve been trying to execute a lot better in every aspect of the game. We came into the Ponca City game week knowing we can’t make any more mistakes, and just improving and knowing we need to get the job done.”

Pawley’s favorite play at this point in the year was a pass he caught in Bixby’s season opener against Jenks. “It was a little screen to me right before halftime,” he says. “And I think it was a 55-yard run to the house to tie it up before the half. Another play I like is the outside zone off right and left, and sometimes going to the house with it.”

As of this writing, games against Bartlesville, at Booker T. Washington and Sand Springs, a rematch of last year’s Class 6AII state championship game, remain on Bixby’s regular season schedule.

“We have to keep going up from here,” Pawley says. “We can’t be staying at a steady rate if we want to get to where we want to get and that is a state championship, just like last year and the year before that.

“With Sand Springs beating Muskogee (26-25 on Oct. 14), that changed the whole game,” Pawley says. “We must really strap it on, and we have to win out the rest of the season. We have to keep on going up to get to where we want to be last year.”

Updated 10-26-2016

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