By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
For a majority of the season, Stillwater High School sophomore receiver Brandon Prather has been flying below most teams’ radar.
But after accounting for 300 total yards against Sand Springs — including nine catches for 198 yards and three touchdowns — it’s safe to say Prather went from a relatively unknown weapon for the Pioneers to a marked man.
“I was hoping to continue to kind of fly under the radar for a little while longer,” Prather said. “A lot of teams didn’t pick on me because they thought I was just a sophomore, but I don’t think that’s going to happen any more.”
He may not be flying under the radar, but he certainly did his fair share of flying in the 41-27 loss to the Sandites Thursday.
Despite his 5-foot-11-inch, 155-pound frame, the sophomore sensation leaped over the top of two Sand Springs defenders for an 83-yard touchdown — electrifying the Stillwater faithful and providing a much-needed spark for the Pioneers.
“I saw the safety get his feet set and I figured I’d try to jump over him,” Prather said. “I got a good jump and was able to come down with it. When I came down I felt like I had my balance and I just took off. It’s one of those things that you dream about and it just kind of happens.”
It may have been a dream come true for Prather to pull down Taggart Brown’s pass, but for Stillwater coach Tucker Barnard, it came as no surprise.
“When you have an athlete that’s as talented as he is, you find ways to get the ball in his hands,” Barnard said. “He’s the type of guy that can make one or two tacklers miss, and the next thing you know, he’s sprinting down the sidelines. That’s why we use a lot of short passes and stuff for him. It’s also why we like to have him on kickoffs. He’s just a dynamic player.”
No doubt, Prather has the ability to break free for a long touchdown at any time, but it’s his ability to find ways to get open that have led to three straight games with 100-plus receiving yards.
“He just has this knack for finding openings in the zone,” Barnard said. “A lot of it is just taking what the offense gives him. He’ll find a soft spot in the zone and just sit there and wait for our quarterbacks to find him.”
Now that he’s a marked man, Prather knows it’s going to be a little bit more difficult to extend that streak to four games.
“It’s going to be tough,” Prather said. “I’m starting to get the feeling that teams are starting to know who I am. They know what I can do and they’re probably going to guard me a little tighter. My goal is to score three touchdowns each game, so even that’s going to be tough to do if teams start guarding me closer.”
Even if he can’t continue that streak Friday against Enid, just the memories of having such a big game against a tough team like Sand Springs are enough to maintain the ever-present smile on Prather’s face.
“I was looking for a big game and I got one,” Prather said. “I didn’t think I’d have that big of a game, but it feels good to know that I helped my team out a lot. … It was a big game for me and I’ll probably remember that one for a while.”
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