STILLWATER, Okla. —
After Stillwater’s offense stalled in its opening drive, it looked like the Hornets were going to drive right back down the field and score, but McDonald had other ideas.
McDonald blocked and recovered Luke Beasley’s punt, taking it 35 yards for the score, but the Pioneers missed the extra point.
“I just got lucky and got to be in the right place at the right time,” McDonald said. “It just happened to bounce in my hands and after that I knew I had to score.”
It didn’t take long for Washington to answer. Four plays into the ensuing drive, Cordale Grundy found Anthony Walker for a 42-yard strike. Even with the blocked extra point, Washington took a 13-7 lead into the second quarter.
Washington threatened to add to its lead, but again McDonald was Johnny-on-the-spot, recovering a fumble at Stillwater’s 16-yard line.
“Marlon had a great week of practice,” Barnard said. “We’re proud of him and he’s turning into a great football player. He’s a guy that I’m asking as the game is wearing on to step up and be that emotional leader that we were looking for.
That proved to be the spark the Pioneers needed as they drove down the field in 11 plays — aided by a 36-yard reception by Brandon Prather — before Cameron Mayberry punched it in on fourth-and-1 with 42 seconds left in the half to tie the game at 13-13.
“That was a great drive,” Barnard said. “We felt really good at that point. I think we felt both offensively and defensively like we found some answers that we needed, but for whatever reason we weren’t able to continue that in the second half.”