BARTLESVILLE, Okla. —
“That was one of our biggest stops,” Campbell said. “It really got us a lot of momentum for offense. The offense depends on the defense and the defense depends on the offense, so that was a really big stop that we really needed.”
The Pioneers managed to put together a drive late in the half still trailing 3-0, driving all the way to the Bartlesville 12-yard line. But facing a fourth-and-8 with two seconds left, Barnard opted to give Bryant another chance.
Bryant had everything lined up perfectly, but once again couldn’t convert as a bad hold caused the sophomore to hit the post.
“That’s tough because it becomes a confidence issue,” Barnard said. “One of those is not on him. I’m not sure if it was the snap or the hold, but the ball didn’t get down. Zach’s doing a good job. He’s just got to keep working and stay confident.”
After nearly giving up the lead at halftime, Bartlesville had an answer in the third quarter. On the fifth play from scrimmage, Penrod hit Nordic for a 48-yard score, extending Bartlesville’s lead to 10-0 two minutes in the second half.
But this time, Stillwater had the answer.
Littell orchestrated a long drive — hitting guys like Will Fowler and Brandon Prather for big gains. That coupled with Cameron Mayberry’s ability to keep the chains moving by bulling through the Bartlesville line allowed Littell to score from 9 yards out. After a botched extra point hit the crossbar, Stillwater trailed 10-6 after three quarters.
“We did some things well there,” Barnard said. “We ran the football well most of the night. ... When we were in front of the chains we were pretty good, but when we were behind them, we struggled.”
Even early in the fourth it looked like Stillwater might pull off the win as the defense continued to pressure Penrod into ill-advised throws and the offense kept rolling.