By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
As a misty fog swirled around Pioneer Stadium Tuesday, the Stillwater High School boys soccer team was caught in another fog — a fog they never could shake in a 4-0 loss to Jenks, dropping their second straight district game at the hands of the powerful Trojans’ offense.
“We just didn’t wake up for 40 minutes,” Stillwater coach Seth Condley said. “We played very scared and tentative for 40 minutes. ... We were just scared because of the name on the front of the jersey. One of these years we’re going to figure it out, though.”
Michael Mitrik scored three goals — two coming in the final 21 minutes of the first half — helping spark the Trojans to three first half goals.
“I don’t understand why it takes us until the second half for guys to wake up,” Condley said. “In the second half, we had guys that finally woke up. I don’t get it. They played physical, they played strong and it took them 40 minutes and me yelling at them at halftime to wake them up. It shouldn’t take me having to get in a guy’s face and calling them out at halftime. They should be doing the right things on and off the field, and doing it right for the team.”
Stillwater (3-5, 0-2 in district) held Jenks scoreless for the first 19 minutes, before Mitrik laced a shot into the back of the net, putting the Trojans up 1-0 with 21:20 left in the first half.
Jenks threatened to add to its lead when Alex Harris had a one-on-one situation with Stillwater goalkeeper Jackson Murphy, but Murphy denied Harris to keep it at a one-goal game with six minutes left in the first half.
“Jackson played well,” Condley said. “He did a good job and made a couple of big saves. That’s just a good team. They’re No. 1 in the state for a reason — they’re very good, very fast. Harris is one of the best players I’ve seen in the state in a long time. They just get it to him and they use his speed to get up and down.”
It didn’t stay that way for long as Tyler Secrest added Jenks’ second goal with 5:20 left in the half.
Less than a minute after Secrest’s goal, the Trojans were back at it again — this time scoring on Mitrik’s penalty kick with 4:26 to play as Jenks took a 3-0 lead into halftime.
“At some point in time the guys on the field have to take responsibility for losing games,” Condley said. “It can’t all be put on the head coach. Guys got to step up and do their job. That’s what I talked to them about at halftime.”
It looked like Jenks was going to continue to pour it on the Pioneers as the mist started to encroach during the second half. Mitrik scored his third goal of the game four minutes in, but it was about that time when Stillwater finally started to step up.
Coupled with a pair of near misses of the post by Jenks, the Pioneers had their fair share of chances — most coming in the final 10 minutes.
But even with those close calls, Stillwater never could slip one past the Jenks goalkeeper Truman Berghall as the Pioneers were shutout for the first time in district play this season.
“For 36 minutes, we played really good soccer,” Condley said. “We gave up the goal in the first four minutes on a corner. I just wish we would play like that for all 40 minutes in the first half.”
Stillwater may have dropped its second straight district game, but Condley said all hope is not lost yet.
“Last year, we lost to Jenks and Moore and we still made the playoffs,” Condley said. “We still have a lot of soccer left. We have a lot of games coming up that we’re going to be in, and if we keep playing like those last 40 minutes we’ll be fine. We talk about it a lot — especially with the Moore game because that was so similar to last year.”