By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
In a one-win season, a lot can get lost — namely the fun in all that surrounds high school football.
But that was the message Stillwater High School coach Tucker Barnard delivered before Friday night’s game against Sand Springs — keep fighting and have fun.
The end result? A game that had everyone on edge until the final Hail Mary heave from quarterback Jon Littell.
“We just tried to have fun as a team,” Littell said. “The offense got going. The defense played their butt off. It was just a lot of fun. It was good to see our guys out there having fun for the first time in a while.”
While Stillwater didn’t come out on the positive side of Friday’s 44-41 shootout in Sand Springs, that idea of just going out playing the game seemed to be the thing that sparked what has been an offense that’s struggled since Braxton Noble’s knee injury.
“Things really clicked,” Barnard said. “They worked hard. Jon Littell, Spencer Parsons, Cameron Mayberry and King Williams, we had so many guys making big plays.”
Undoubtedly, Littell was a big part of Stillwater’s success. Time and time again, he’d find Parsons or Brandon Prather to keep the drive alive, completing 15 of 21 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns.
And when the passes weren’t there? He had plenty of time to tuck it and run — something Littell didn’t do a lot of in his first start against Bartlesville.
“It was great to be in a groove for a little while,” Littell said. “Our offensive line did a great job, the receivers and I were on the same page and the backs did their thing when they got the ball in their hands. ... I couldn’t have asked for any better effort out of them.”
There were still times when Littell may not have made the right read or the most accurate pass, but those were few and far between.
“He had a great night,” Barnard said. “He made so many plays with his legs, he made plays with his arm. To orchestrate a last-minute drive and put us in a position to score, it was incredible.”
And while there were still times where Littell looked slightly confused on the plays being called, it’s safe to say the senior is starting to feel more comfortable with each passing week.
“I definitely felt more comfortable (Friday),” Littell said. “The offensive line did a great job of protecting me and the receivers and the backs worked their tails off to get us into the end zone as much as possible.”
There’s no telling if Littell’s latest performance will allow the Stillwater coaching staff to open up the playbook a little bit more and let the senior have some more fun, but with nothing really left to lose that might not be a bad thing.
Who knows, with the swagger Littell and the offense projects, it might just lead to another win.