By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Nobody expected the Stillwater High School football team to compete with Class 6A No. 3 Owasso.
And while Stillwater couldn’t end the season on a high note with an upset, falling by a final score of 49-23 to the Rams Friday at Pioneer Stadium, the Pioneers (3-7, 1-6 in district) held their own before running out of energy in the second half.
“There were flashes of what we thought we could be all season,” Stillwater coach Tucker Barnard said. “They played hard and they wanted to win this football game. People probably would have assumed that we’d come out and lay down ... but our guys wanted to win. They played hard, but over the course of the game they just couldn’t maintain it.”
Stillwater was led by junior King Williams, who ran the ball 21 times for 139 yards and three touchdowns. He also completed 10 of 20 passes for 120 and a touchdown out of the Wildcat formation.
“I just wanted the ball in my hand,” said Williams, who ran for 151 yards in the first half and then lost 12 in the second. “I wanted to represent our senior class well. I was just trying to get the job done. The line was just blocking well and I was just blessed to see a couple of big holes.”
Trailing 27-20 after the first half, Owasso (8-2, 7-0 in district) showed why it’s the No. 3 team in Class 6A, thanks to a 69-yard run to begin the third quarter. One play later Jaylen Lowe hit Cameron Oliver for an 11-yard strike to extend the lead to 34-20.
A safety on the ensuing possession provided the spark the Rams needed to put the game out of reach.
“We just couldn’t hold our water on offense or defense,” Stillwater senior wide receiver Darian Williams said. “When that happens, wins are hard to come by.”
Stillwater may have struggled in the second half, but it’s the first half that Barnard will look to as the Pioneers head into the off-season.
The two teams combined for 47 points in the second quarter alone, after a scoreless first quarter.
King Williams led the way for the Pioneers in the second quarter. Along with runs of 3 and 26-yards, Williams also hit cousin Darian Williams with a 48-yard pass to close the gap to 27-20 with 46 seconds left in the half, providing a huge momentum swing for the Pioneers before halftime.
“It meant a lot,” said Darian Williams, who finished with three catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. “I was glad I got to score my final touchdown here. We didn’t go out with a win, but I played my hardest. I had a feeling it might be the last one I’d have at this stadium, so I tried to cherish that moment.”
The win may have helped Owasso dethrone Tulsa Union as district champs, but Barnard said he feels like the team did build some momentum toward next season.
“It’s been a yearlong process and I think building for next year has been happening all year,” Barnard said. “We’ve done some good things and we’ve done some things very poorly. We’ll learn from all of that. We’ll try to attack our areas of weakness and get better at them next year.”