For the second time in three weeks, the Stillwater High football team will be losing out on a home game.
The Pioneers were scheduled to host Northwest Classen on Friday night. However, on Monday, SHS coach Tucker Barnard received a message that NW Classen won’t play and “will have to forfeit” according to the text message he sent out Monday afternoon.
“I think I had a sneaky suspicion that it was going to happen,” Barnard said. “I had some hope that we’d get to play because they played last week. They said they didn’t have enough members. We didn’t trade video this weekend, so I kind of figured that was an indication that they weren’t going to play.”
Barnard did say his Pioneers should earn the forfeit victory and improve to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in Class 6A-II District I. He said it sounds like NW Classen’s cancellation isn’t because of COVID-19, but a lack of number of players available.
“I think it’s going to be a forfeit,” Barnard said. “I don’t think it’s about COVID. I think they’re saying they don’t have enough kids to play. There won’t be a reschedule.”
The Pioneers had six home contests on the schedule to begin the year, but they’ve lost three of those to cancellations. They had to cancel against Bixby because of COVID-19 cases in Payne County. Three weeks later, U.S. Grant had to cancel on the Pioneers because of COVID-19 numbers.
U.S. Grant and NW Classen played each other Friday night. U.S. Grant won the game 28-12. Three days later, NW Classen canceled this week’s game at Pioneer Stadium.
Stillwater has two games left on the schedule – a road game at Midwest City and a home game against Putnam City North. Both opponents are also 3-0 in district action, but they play each other at PC North this week.
The final two games of the regular season will decide the Pioneers’ district fate. Thus, Barnard doesn’t want to risk scheduling anyone this week with two key games coming up before the playoffs begin.
“I’m not actively looking for a game,” Barnard said. “We’re getting down to the end now where I’m not sure you want a game that’s meaningless game that might put you at risk of contact tracing. If we pick up a game this week and then find out Monday or Tuesday you played somebody with COVID, and then lost players for the Midwest City game, we’d feel kind of silly. … I think the risk reward at this point is not there.”