MIDWEST CITY – Jack Smithton has been the third target in the Stillwater High passing attack this season, but he made his presence known early Friday night.
Senior Anthony Bland and junior Steven Brown have been the two primary targets for senior quarterback Gunnar Gundy this fall.
Yet, it was Smithton who scored the first touchdown on a night where Stillwater rolled to another victory. The Pioneers dominated Midwest City, 49-14, beating the Bombers for the second-straight year.
“I wasn’t sure we could put up those kind of points against them,” SHS football coach Tucker Barnard said. “We really did it for three quarters, for the most part. … I’m pretty proud right now.”
On Stillwater’s first offensive possession of the game, Gundy found Bland and Brown for good chunks of yardage after beginning the game with a rare incompletion on his first throw. His fourth pass of the game found Smithton in the middle of the field.
Smithton took the short catch and turned on the jets. He left the Bomber defenders chasing him for a 45-yard touchdown reception. It was his first touchdown of the season.
Smithton ended the night with three catches for 76 yards. He nearly doubled his yardage total of the year, which was 79 before Friday night’s win.
“We know the kind of talent he has,” Barnard said. “He’s a great player and he catches everything. It was good to see him breakout tonight. Steven and Anthony have gotten a lot of attention, but (defenses) have to pick a spot to be a little softer and Jack exploited them a bit.”
Brown led the Pioneers with 11 receptions for 137 yards. Bland caught seven passes for 70 yards in the win, helping Gundy complete 25 of 39 passes for 307 yards.
Gundy wasn’t as efficient as he’s been through the first four games, but Barnard said the Bombers would be the toughest defense Stillwater has faced this season. Yet, Gundy was still able to carve them up for 300-plus yards and four touchdowns.
“He was leaving some balls high, but he had a little more pressure than what he’s had in the previous games,” Barnard said. “I don’t think he was quite able to get his arm extended and finish through his release. He did a great job with his decision making.”
Stillwater’s offense scored touchdowns on its first three possessions of the game before its final two of the half ended in a failed fake punt and a punt. The SHS defense forced and recovered a fumble on Midwest City’s second drive of the game.
Junior Luke McEndoo tackled Bomber quarterback DeAngelo Irving from behind and forced the fumble. The ball rolled for a bit before SHS senior defensive back Garrick Martin scooped it up and returned it for a few yards.
The ensuing Pioneers’ drive ended with a 12-yard touchdown scramble by Gundy. He took a couple of hits, but dove for the end zone to put Stillwater up 13-0.
Stillwater (5-0 overall, 2-0 district) led 20-7 at halftime, but some locker room adjustments helped the Pioneers score 22 points in the third quarter and take command of the game.
“They gave us a little trouble at the end of the first half, but we went in and talked,” Barnard said. “Coach (Chad) Cawood is pretty good. He figured out what was up, and we came out second half and fixed it offensively.”
Junior tailback Qwontrel Walker made the most of his limited carries in the second half. He rushed the ball only nine times after halftime, but he accumulated 148 yards.
Walker finished the night with 22 carries for 240 yards, surpassing his previous season high of 193 yards, which he accomplished in the season opener.
“It was a quiet night for him,” Barnard said. “He had a couple of big runs. But if you let up in the middle, we’re pretty good right now and we’ve got to keep getting better.”
Stillwater returns home for its next two game. SHS will host Choctaw and Lawton, respectively, in the next two weeks.
“It’s nice to go home for two big games,” Barnard said. “I’ve been here for nine years or whatever, and those are always tough games. We’ll have to go home, get to work and do our best.”