BIXBY, Okla. — Bixby junior Nic Roller ran for 150 yards and three touchdowns as the Spartans scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to turn a tight game into a 44-20 win Friday.
Springdale (0-3) was in the game at halftime, trailing just 23-20, but key second-half injuries and a physical Bixby run game took their toll as the Spartans pulled away for a third straight win over the Bulldogs.
Bixby threw the ball 57 times while mounting an improbable comeback for a 45-38 win at Springdale High last year. Friday night, the Spartans pounded the ball with Roller to wear down a banged-up Springdale team. Bixby (2-1) ran for 283 yards, giving Springdale issues with a bruising ground game after throwing for more than 400 yards last year.
- Senior receiver/safety Zach Burton (knee), senior right tackle Jose Ambriz (full-body cramp), junior defensive end Logan Brown (broken arm) and senior receiver/cornerback Chris Owens (wrist) were a few of the many injuries sustained by the Bulldogs, while even more had cramping issues. Springdale ended the game without two players who began the season as starters in the secondary, then lost Owens and Burton in the second half.
- The teams combined for five turnovers and 13 penalties in the first half.
- The passing game was great at times. Junior quarterback Fuller Chandler completed 20 of 33 passes for a career-high 296 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. It’s the second time he’s thrown for a career-high in three games.
- Owens had three catches for a career-high 119 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown that put Springdale up 17-15 in the second quarter, the third straight week the Bulldogs led in the second quarter. He also had an interception playing cornerback in the first half. Senior Salvador Sandoval added a career-high nine catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
- Springdale will enter conference play with an 0-3 record for the first time since starting the 2011 season with an 0-6 record.
- Roller has totaled more than 550 all-purpose and nine touchdowns in Bixby’s last two games.
- Bixby sophomore quarterback Tanner Griffin completed 12 of 21 passes for 168 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
For the full game story, check out Saturday’s Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.