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Of course this is not an easy task with the team having to replace 2011 graduate, Jacob Parker, who was the experienced leader in nearly every major category.
However, Bixby is ready with seven seniors and three returning starters from last year’s team.
Seniors Austin Wright, who recently signed with Missouri Southern, and Jacob Bittle, a starter since his freshman year, lead a senior class with varsity experience. To replace Parker, 3rd year Coach Scott Padek will rely on seniors Zach Pivarnik and Sean Young, who both hope to catch college attention, while seniors Tucker Jennings and Parker Homan and returning starter junior Breyden Fivecoats aim to take the heat off Bittle and Wright on the outside.
Since the beginning of school, the Spartans have regularly practiced lifting, scrimmaging and learning from films. Despite this, Padek believes in not overworking his team as last year’s only practiced, “about 80 times throughout the season.”
The Spartans also owe success to the student section, which followed the team everywhere, bringing noise and spirit to every game. Padek believes the reason for all the spirit is in “our sport [fans]can actually feel like their in the game.”
The team’s schedule holds two Friday night games at home in hopes of bringing in bigger and louder crowds. There is no doubt that they face tough challenges on the road back to state with contenders Booker T. Washington and Edison moving up from 5A, not to mention games against the always competitive Broken Arrow, Union and Jenks.
“No game on the schedule will be easy, but we can do it,” Padek said with determination.
Padek’s proudest moments in his brief tenure at Bixby are “beating a highly-ranked Bartlesville to reach state last year” and that “Zach Pivarnik had Under Armour briefs on when he got pantsed during a game.”
The first game of the season is December 6 at Union with the girl’s varsity game at 6:00 p.m., followed by the boy’s game at 7:30.