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Amazing Bixby Ready for Another Championship


By Mike Moguin
Sports Correspondent

Editor’s Note: This edition of the Bixby Breeze was published the day before the state championship game. The January is issue will have a game recap.

Bixby is back in the Class 6AII state championship game, which it hopes to win for a third consecutive year.

Key players for the Spartans’ success this season have been quarterback Tanner Griffin, running back Tucker Pawley, defensive lineman Brendon Evers and wide receiver Nic Swanson.

Swanson, a senior, has totaled 18 touchdowns, 1,339 yards on 97 catches for the season, an average of 13.8 yards per catch and 111.6 yards per game.
Bixby met Lawton Dec. 2 at Yukon.

The Spartans also played Lawton in the 2014 title game, who they beat for the first of their two titles. They were expected to win state that year, but last season was different as they had to overcome injuries and four losses en route to the championship.

This year, Bixby (10-3) is riding an eight-game win streak after a 2-3 start. They lost a close high-scoring game in the opener against Jenks, then lost to one of the top schools in Arkansas before bouncing back with convincing wins against Putnam City and Westmoore.

A 45-42 loss to Muskogee on Sept. 30 followed. The loss was difficult to take and it eventually led to a second-place finish in District 6AII-2 for the Spartans.

“Muskogee is a great team. They’re tough,” Swanson said. “I think we should have come out with the win, but I think it opened our eyes that every team we play is tough. We’ve got to come out every day in practice and sharpen ourselves. We’ve got to fight to get to the playoffs and now we got to fight to get the gold ball.
“I think after that game, we realize we got to step up and we certainly have,” Swanson said.

The Spartans believed there was a good chance they would see Muskogee again. But Lawton put that to rest with a 35-28 win against the Roughers on Nov. 18.

Swanson credits the coaching staff at Bixby for his success. He was the backup quarterback his sophomore year before being moved to receiver last year, when he started as many as eight games as a junior.

“They have helped me become who I am today on the field,” he sais. “I knew most of the offense being the backup quarterback, then I transitioned into being a receiver last year, where I was mainly a blocker. I didn’t get the ball that much, but it’s helped me as a blocker. Now my coaches help me transition into great route running and catching. Coaches have been a big part in it.”

Being a receiver requires more than just catching the ball, and Swanson likes it that way.

“Just everything about it, honestly,” he said. “I like blocking for the running back and other receivers and watching them score from my blocks. I like getting the ball, I like getting out on the edge. Just everything about it.”

Swanson’s favorite catches were a one-handed catch he made for the first play against Bartlesville and a long touchdown catch against Putnam City.

Bixby enters the championship game off a 35-21 win over Sand Springs in the semifinals.

The wins against the Sandites and Westmoore, Swanson considers them among the best.

“There were a lot of good wins for us this year, and we’ve couldn’t have done it without everyone stepping up,” he said.

As his team gears up for the state title game, Swanson boasts about what his makes his teammates great.

“Tanner has been a three-year starter and he is just one of the smartest guys I know about football,” Swanson said. “He knows the game real well, he knows about the team we’re playing, he studies them all week and he finds way to thoroughly help people with their assignments and it works out for them. Tucker Pawley, he’s a character, he’s awesome. He is a great running back, very smart too, runs hard, those two are great players, we got a great offensive line too, great defense. They (offensive line) help Tanner give time to throw to me so I can’t forget about them.”

Updated 12-07-2016

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