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Bixby Offensive Lineman Chooses Oklahoma State

PROTECTING THE PASSER: Bryce Bray goes into a pass protection for Bixby in a game last year. 

Fitting in is important for any college athlete. That’s how Bixby offensive lineman Bryce Bray felt when he visited Oklahoma State. Ultimately, he made the decision to make it his destination for college football.

“It just felt like home there,” Bray says. “Every time I’ve been there, I just felt welcome.  I didn’t feel like I was out of the place. It feels like once I leave here (Bixby), I’m moving down the street. It doesn’t feel any different than what I have around here at Bixby.”

One reason why Oklahoma State is thriving this year is a solid offensive line. In the Cowboys’ season opener against Tulsa, the line created many holes for running backs to make large gains and provided protection for the passing game.

Bray, at 6-6, 299, will undoubtedly make a nice addition to the OSU offensive line. He is currently a force occupying the left tackle spot for the Spartans.

Another thing Bray can look forward to is reuniting with Brendon Evers, a former Spartan standout on defense, now making Stillwater home. Evers played some against Tulsa.

“It will be awesome getting back there with him (Evers) and getting to train with him again,” Bray says.

It was Bray’s plan to stay in state. He chose OSU over OU and TU.

For now, as his senior season is in progress, he and others have one goal in mind, to win the Class 6AII title for the fourth straight year.

Bray relishes his role as an offensive lineman.

“It’s awesome. I love it,” he says. “I love being able to go out there and being able to physically dominate someone night in and night out.

“What I love most about playing line, whenever something is not going right, it falls on your back,” Bray says. “I love the fact that the coaches know in their heads that ‘if we hand this ball off, we’re getting yardage, even if our game plan isn’t working.’ That’s another thing I love about playing o-line, that people do put the pressure on you and that you can back that up.”

When it comes to role models in the trenches, Bray admires the performance of Oklahoma State’s Zach Crabtree.

“He takes practice just like he takes the game: 100 percent full seriousness. There is no fooling around. He knows when to mess around a little bit and he knows when it’s time to strap it in and say, ‘Let’s Go.’”

Bray likes the Dallas Cowboys, because “I enjoy watching their o-line, and they’re pretty close to us.”

On the other side of the Bixby offensive line is another D-I lineman, Josh Owens (6-4, 255, senior). Having that privilege, Bray says, is unreal.

“It’s kind of hard in high school to have two D-I’s,” Bray said. “We also have Isaiah Lakin (6-3, 226, senior), who has received several D-II offers, and Colten Cable (6-3, 271, junior), the left guard, who has been looked at by several D-I colleges. It is just crazy and unreal that both Josh and I get to be models for the future guys coming up,” Bray says, smiling. “We want to show them the mentality they should have coming in.

“I think our o-line is No. 1 in the state,” he adds. “I have no doubt about it. People might say that about other teams, but we’re No. 1 in the state. There’s no way around it. You could tell (Sept. 1 vs. Jenks), when things weren’t getting done in the passing game, we ran behind those dudes.”

Bray and the Spartans opened the season with a big win against Jenks, the first for the program against the Trojans since 1977.

However, Bixby dropped its next two games. One loss came to a powerhouse from Arkansas, the other came to a surprising Putnam City squad that’s on the rise. But the district season had yet to begin (at the time of publication) and that matters more when it comes to the playoffs. No changes in the Spartans’ mindset about where they intend to finish.

“There’s no way around it,” Bray said. “We are looking to four-peat and nobody is going to stop us on that mission. The key to that is to keep the same intensity, come out and have the same mentality and mindset every game, not matter who it is we’re playing.”

Updated 10-09-2017

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