The undefeated Stillwater Pioneers football team takes on the winless U.S. Grant Generals in the final game of their non-district schedule at 7 p.m. Friday at Pioneer Stadium.
Though Stillwater is facing a winless team, it isn’t taking U.S. Grant any less seriously.
“We don’t base things off their record,” senior wide receiver Jordan Brown said. “We just want to play how we play and make us a better team for the next week.”
In fact, the Pioneers were in the same position last season and coach Tucker Barnard remembers how they played and expects the Generals to play the same way.
“I know when it was us in that situation, we were scratching, clawing and fighting and doing everything we can to pull out a victory,” Barnard said. “I’m sure that U.S. Grant is doing the same thing. I’m sure they are going to come in here and play extremely hard and do everything they can do. We got to make sure we are doing our best to play as well as we can play and let everything fall where it may.”
This will be the Pioneers second game with Marlon McDonald III starting at quarterback. Senior wide receiver Brandon Prather said the offense is becoming more comfortable with McDonald running the plays.
“We are more laid back,” Prather said. “We aren’t practicing so hard and resting guys up now. Marlon has been working quarterback since day one now. It’s not a big deal for me or the rest of us.”
Senior wide receiver Isaiah Johnson said the team trusts McDonald because he is talented.
“We trust him to make plays whether it’s passing, running the ball or handing off,” Johnson said.
With Friday being the final non-district game, Barnard hopes his team can fine-tune some fundamentals before district.
“We got to continue getting better,” Barnard said. “We can’t sit back and relax on what we’ve done right now. What we’ve done so far doesn’t really have a lot of meaning when you compare it to what it would mean to be a district champion and getting yourself a number one seed.”
The Pioneers are seeking their first 4-0 start since 2004 when Kurt Fridrich led Stillwater to a 10-3 record. Barnard said he doesn’t know how much his players know about the past but knows they want to win.
“I don’t know if they have any concept or thought process about what was going on in ‘04 or how long ago that was,” Barnard said. “All they know is that they want to win. They want to win now. The past doesn’t have much affect on this season or these guys.”