Over the last four years, playoffs have been on the line when the No. 17 Stillwater Pioneers and No. 12 Enid Plainsmen have met on the soccer field. At the end of Friday night, the Pioneers’ playoff chances are in much better shape after a 2-0 victory on senior night.
“It was kind of a helter-skelter game,” coach Seth Condley said. “Both teams had lots of good chances. Luckily we came out on the right end this time.”
The game was very physical from the start. Luis Rute was taken down while attempting a shot and the Pioneers were awarded a penalty shot. Nathan Herrmann cashed in on the opportunity with 27:17 left in the first half. Minutes late the official called a yellow card on Stillwater’s Bryson Reed when he was going up for the ball and his legs taken out from under him by an Enid player. The Pioneers maintained their lead the rest of the half.
Reed will have to sit out next Friday’s game at Bixby because of the yellow card.
“That’s a huge blow on a call that probably shouldn’t have happened,” Condley said. “(The official) made the call and there's nothing we can do about it. We just got to find a way to play without him.”
Stillwater increased its lead less than seven minutes into the second half. Marlon McDonald, who didn’t start shot it past Enid’s goalie.
“It was a deflection off a header and I was just open,” McDonald said. “I almost waited until the last second to make it but I’m glad it went in.”
Enid (5-4, 1-2) generated several scoring chances but Stillwater goalie Jackson Murphy and defenders Reed and Matt Mills were up to the challenge. With 16:09 left, Pedro Braga got the Plainsmen on the board as he shot the ball over Murphy from 20 yards out.
The Pioneers (6-4, 2-2) regained momentum when Reed shot one past the goalie from 30 yards to increase Stillwater’s lead to 3-1 with 13:44 left in the game. Stillwater just missed making it a three goal lead as it shot the ball wide.
“Two of the best high school goals, I’ve seen in my career were the one from Enid and then Bryson’s goal,” Condley said. “Those were amazing. ... Bryson hit it from 30 yards out.”
Reed said he just took advantage of the opportunity.
“They made a mistake, passing into the middle,” Reed said. “So, I just punished their mistake and ended with a goal.”
The victory gives Stillwater one point in margin and could hold the fourth and final playoff spot entering next Friday’s game at Bixby, if Ponca City lost to Booker T. Washington on Friday.
“I’m proud of the team that was a big win,” Condley said. “Now we have a week off to get ready for Bixby. Three away games and you have to get two out of three. ... This is a tough district.”