By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
When it rains, it pours. And right now the Stillwater High School football team is experiencing a downpour.
Early losses in district play jeopardized Stillwater’s playoff chances before last week’s loss to Sand Springs eliminated the Pioneers from playoff contention.
Even though the trip to Enid for a 7:30 p.m. Friday kickoff may not mean much in terms of the district standings, don’t expect the Pioneers to roll over against their hated rivals.
“Since we’ve got to go down, we’re going to take as many people with us as we can,” Stillwater senior receiver Darian Williams said. “This just feels like a must-win for us. We refuse to lose this game.”
“They’re in the same boat we’re in,” Stillwater assistant coach Jeremy Hughes said. “We’re both basically playing for pride. You tell your seniors that they have two ball games left in most of their careers, so they should go out and play their best. It’s just kind of a pride game for us at this point.”
Stillwater (3-5, 1-4 in district) may be playing for not much more than pride against Enid (2-6, 0-5 in district), but a rash of injuries have been the main contributor to the Pioneers’ four-game losing streak. That same pesky injury bug continues to bite the Pioneers, with two key linebackers —Cameron Mayberry and Rueben Farmer — already out for Friday’s game.
“It puts you in a bind when some of your best guys are out, but it gives the opportunity to some of those younger guys to come in and show you something,” Hughes said. “If there is an upside, we’re going to get guys reps that probably wouldn’t receive reps, but it stinks for those guys like Cameron Mayberry, who is a typical starter that’s out.”
There are still some question marks surrounding who will suit up for the Pioneers. Senior running back Davyn Thompson will be a gametime decision, as will sophomore quarterback Braxton Noble.
“If I get to play, I hope that (getting injured last week) is going to push me more — just knowing that I get a chance to play another game,” Thompson said. “I’m going to come out 100 percent and let them know that they’re going to have to worry about us.”
Hughes said that if Thompson does go, he likely will play only on offense — leaving a huge hole in Stillwater secondary.
“Davyn is kind of like a Cameron for us,” Hughes said. “The difference is that Davyn is a senior, so Davyn’s leadership on the field is going to be missed as well — not just the fact that he’s a good football player. It’s going to hurt us at corner and it’s going to hurt us at tailback. They’re still not sure, he may be back to play one side of the football and if he does it’ll probably be offense. His injury doesn’t lend itself to him playing corner a whole lot, but it’s part of the game. ... We’re just going to have to find a way to fill in for him.”
The Pioneers may come in bruised and banged up, but no matter who takes the field they all have one common goal — ending Stillwater’s four-game losing skid.
“It was pretty tough at first, but our coaches have been talking about it all week,” Thompson said. “We just have to keep playing and keep our heads up. Like they said, we’re playing for pride. We just have to play hard.”