By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Stillwater High football team hung up the pads Tuesday for the last time until the fall camp opens in August following the final day of the SHS team camp at Pioneer Stadium.
“I think we were just starting to get better, but unfortunately we have to put the pads up now,” SHS linebacker C.J. Citizen said. “We’ll still have 7-on-7 that we can do. But the main process will be lifting and getting better and stronger this summer.”
That’s not to say the Pioneers are done preparing for the 2013 football season — far from it. Stillwater will still have summer camps and workouts, but this was the team’s last chance to work as a team with the pads on.
And after two weeks of team camps, including the past two days on their home turf, Pioneer coach Tucker Barnard is optimistic from what he saw from his squad while scrimmaging against teams from Yukon and Bartlesville.
“There’s a lot of things from these two days that are going to positively effect us,” Barnard said. “Some of those were negative things that are happening to us on both sides of the ball, but it gives us a chance to point out and find the problems before we get into the season. And that’s really the purpose of these camps.”
Following Tuesday’s final scrimmage against Yukon, both players for the Pioneers and the Millers gathered under the stadium bleachers for a meal which was provided by Fellowship of Christian Athletes and served by several former and current Oklahoma State football players.
“It was pretty fun to have them come out here and tell us what they wish they would have done differently in high school and give us an idea of some things that we can try to do,” SHS receiver Brandon Prather said. “You wouldn’t think guys like Brodrick Brown would be out here serving us food. It was pretty cool.”
Several of the Cowboy players, including Jeray Chatham — a former defensive tackle for OSU who graduated in 2009 — even gave some pointers to the Pioneer players while they were standing along the sidelines between scrimmages.
“It motivates you more,” Citizen said of getting input from Chatham. “I’m not entirely there, but it tells me that somebody is noticing me that I have the potential and ability to maybe get to college.”
The best conversation came between Prather, Stillwater’s leading receiver a year ago who recently won the Class 6A state long jump, and recent Cowboy cornerback Brown. The Cowboy players gave Brown a hard time that the speedy Prather could match up against the former Cowboy All-American.
“I think I could take him. Probably five times out of 10 I think I could get him on some routes,” Prather said. “I am tempted to see what I could do. I might have to ask him.”
Before the grueling summer workouts commence, including Pioneer Performance — a five-week program in which players work on position skills as well as strength and conditioning — the SHS football team will get away from football and focus on the team aspect.
The Pioneer players and coaches will be traveling to Lawton for an overnight stay later this week for a rappelling trip sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“It’s a good time to get away from football and have a good time with your teammates,” Citizen said. “You’re always going at each — offense and defense always going at each other in practice. So it’s a good time to get together and just bond together.”