By Nick Snow
ENID, Okla. —
A rash of injuries the past couple weeks have left the Stillwater High School football team depleted and inexperienced.
That lack of depth showed Friday at D. Bruce Selby Stadium as the Pioneers dropped their fifth straight district game with a 49-21 loss to the Plainsmen.
“I don’t know how much affect (the injuries) have,” Stillwater coach Tucker Barnard said. “I know that we keep putting 11 guys out there, so we’ve got to play better football. We’ve got to tackle better, we have to block better, we have to hang on to the ball — we’re in a difficult situation, but sometimes things are tough.”
Enid (3-6, 1-5 in district) gouged Stillwater’s defense for 457 yards on the ground with players like sophomore linebacker Cameron Mayberry and senior cornerback Davyn Thompson sidelined with an injury. Of those 457 yards, 336 of them came from Seth Handley, who had touchdown runs of 35 and 80 yards.
“You didn’t know what he was going to do — juke in or juke out,” Stillwater junior safety King Williams said. “He used his speed to the sideline, which was smart. He’s just a great running back and I give him his props.”
It wasn’t just Handley that wore down the Pioneers’ defense. Three of the seven Enid scores lasted for more than 5 minutes, the longest being a 12-play, 80-yard drive that chewed up 6:47 on the clock before Raeshaan Findley punched it in from 2 yards late in the fourth quarter.
“We were prepared for their running attack,” Barnard said. “We worked it (in practice) and got after it. They blocked their plays a little better than we did and Handley’s a little faster and a little better than what we faced this week in practice.”
But it wasn’t all bad for the Pioneers (3-6, 1-5 in district). Led by King Williams, who had 14 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns, Stillwater’s offense was clicking for most of the game. They just struggled to keep pace with Enid’s running game.
“We had a little success,” Barnard said. “King kind of sparked us on offense and he gave them something that they weren’t really ready for. ... We had some good things going, but really defensively we can’t give up that many points.”
Trailing 21-7 at the half the biggest blow of the game came on the first play of the third quarter, when Handley bounced outside Stillwater’s defense for an 80-yard score.
“We worked hard at stopping the run in practice and then you have something like that happen, it just kills you,” Williams said. “I thought we had a good week defensively, but we just didn’t make any plays.”
In the loss, Stillwater may have lost another linebacker. Will Fowler was carted off the field during the third quarter, but Barnard said it was mostly for precautionary measures.
“I think Will should be fine,” Barnard said. “He had to come in and move to buck linebacker after Cameron Mayberry got hurt. He was playing well, so you hate to see that happen. Right now we just don’t have any depth at that spot.”
Stillwater will put a wrap on its disappointing season with a home contest against Owasso.