With overtime looming, Edmond Memorial took advantage of an opportunity given with less than four minutes remaining to steal a victory and eliminate Stillwater from the playoffs.
The Pioneers and Bulldogs were tied for the majority of the second half after each team scored a goal during the opening minutes, doubling their scores. It remained tied until the Bulldogs scored the go-ahead goal, which became the game-winning goal.
Edmond Memorial won 3-2, advancing to the Class 6A state semifinals next week. Meanwhile, Stillwater’s season came to a close with a 13-4 record.
“It’s a tough one to take because I thought we we were the better team,” SHS coach Seth Condley said. “We gave up three deflection goals we didn’t mark up. You can put that on me. I’ll take the loss. Coaches lose games, and I’ll take that. Overall, this was a great season, short of a game we probably should have been at. I’m proud of the boys. The foundation is good. Another great crowd tonight.”
For more than 30 minutes, the game was tied 2-2 with both teams coming close to taking a lead. Stillwater goalkeeper Kade Stevens made two diving saves during the middle of the half to keep the score tied.
With just over three minutes remaining, Memorial threw the ball in from near the corner of the Stillwater goal. The ball bounced around in the box and wasn’t cleared out before Memorial kicked it into the back of the net with 3 minutes and 9 seconds left in the contest.
“You get this close to being back in semifinals for the second time in school history with a young group,” Condley said. “Even though we lost, I’m proud of the boys.”
Memorial took a 1-0 lead in the opening minutes of the match. Mason Thornhill scored the first of his two goals with a header that came after a free kick from about 30 yards out.
Stillwater eventually answered with the equalizer. With 9:49 left in the half, Blake Henderson scored a goal from about 15 yards out on an assist from Luke Prentice.
The Pioneers wasted no time in taking a second half lead. Ethan Hicks juked out the Bulldogs’ goalkeeper to give himself an easy tap in for the Pioneers’ second goal of the game with 37:11 left in the contest.
Memorial tied the game less than three minutes later. Thornhill found the back of the net once again.
“They’re just dangerous up top and they kind of exposed us on the outsides more than other teams have,” Condley said. “You give up two goals – one from a free kick and one from a throw in.”
Stillwater had won 11 of its last 12 games entering the state quarterfinal contest. It had only three seniors who had even played in a playoff game before Tuesday’s victory over Sand Springs.
Condley said he was disappointed Friday, but he hopes one loss doesn’t deter how his players feel about this season.
“It’s a great season,” Condley said. “We were district champions for the first time in school history. There is a lot of good things. I’m proud of the boys.”