By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Enid Plainsmen spotted Stillwater a 29-6 lead at halftime and were never able to fully recover, falling 43-27 to the Pioneers Friday night in a District 6A-1 contest.
The loss proved especially costly as the loss, combined with Sand Springs’ 38-21 win over Owasso, eliminated Enid from playoff contention.
“This is tough,” said Enid head coach Steve Chard following the game. “We didn’t stop them, we didn’t play well in the first half and didn’t tackle well. I can’t explain that. It surprised me we didn’t play better in the first half.”
Stillwater racked up 476 yards in offense to Enid’s 475, but did most of its damage on the ground, rushing for 338 yards after averaging only 167 yards rushing this season.
The Pioneers had three players rush for 100 or more yards as King Williams rushed for 128 yards, quarterback Jon Littell added 107 yards and Cameron Mayberry had 100 yards. Littell also passed for 138 yards and three touchdowns as Stillwater raised its record to 2-7 overall and 2-4 in district play. Enid fell to 3-6 and 2-4 in district.
Enid made a brief comeback attempt in the second half, scoring on a 91-yard drive on its first possession in the second half when Alex Lofton caught a 44-yard pass down the sideline to make if 29-13.
The Plainsmen drew closer at 29-20 after stopping Stillwater for the first time on the night on their next possession, marching 69 yards in eight plays when Frederick Lawrence scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak after Raheem Mitchell rushed for 25 yards on the drive.
Mitchell finished with 140 yards rushing, pushing him over the 1,000 yard mark for the season. Lawrence was 19-of-35 passing for 312 yards and two touchdowns. Lofton caught seven passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.
“We started doing what we do and their (Stillwater) true colors came out too,” Chard said regarding the Plainsmen comeback effort.
But the Plainsmen couldn’t keep Stillwater off the board later in the half as the Pioneers responded to the two Enid scores with a 14-yard Littell to Jordan Brown pass to make it 36-20.
Enid turned the ball over on downs after falling short on fourth-and-eight from the Stillwater 36-yard line when Lawrence scrambled for seven yards. Littell then busted a 71-yard run up the middle for a touchdown to take a 43-20 lead with 10 minutes left.
Aaron Beagle caught a 35-yard touchdown reception, bouncing off several tacklers, to bring Enid to within 43-27, but could get no closer. Stillwater closed out the game for the win.
“They’re good offensively,” Chard said of Stillwater. “They’ve been scoring pretty good this season, they’ve had some red zone issues in the past this season, but heck, we didn’t stop them well enough to make them play in the red zone.”
The Plainsmen were able to move the ball in the first half, but unlike Stillwater, the Plainsmen offense repeatedly sputtered in the red zone as Stillwater sprinted out to the 29-6 halftime lead.
“We moved pretty well between the 20s (in the first half) but you have to score touchdowns,” Chard said.
Enid got on the board first on a Mason Camp 24-yard field, to go up 3-0. But in what would be a harbinger of things to come, the Plainsmen drive stalled after driving 67 yards. Enid got to the Stillwater 14, but could get no further.
The Pioneers then went on a quick 6-play, 65-yard drive, scoring on a 32-yard pass from Littell to Spencer Parsons. The Pioneers converted on a fourth-and-five from the EHS 47 when Parsons rushed for 15 yards. Stillwater successfully went for two points and pushed ahead 8-3.
After Enid’s next drive stalled, Stillwater took over at its own 34, following a 10-yard punt and went up 15-3, following 11-yard touchdown run by Mayberry at the 11-minute mark of the second quarter.
Another Enid drive stalled inside Stillwater territory and Enid settled for another Camp field goal from 32 yards – his longest of the year.
Stillwater then scored on each of its next two drives. Cameron Prather caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Littell. After the Plainsmen failed on a fourth-and-11 at the Stillwater 33 late in the half, Stillwater appeared content to run out the clock. But Williams scored on a 56-yard run with four seconds left to make it 29-6.
“There’s no excuse for that,” Chard said. “They’re trying to go to the house (at halftime) and we don’t tackle him. It always comes down to good blocking and tackling. We have played good football this year, but this wasn’t one of those.”
Enid held the ball more than twice as long as Stillwater in the first half, but was outgained 278-190 yards.
Chard said the loss, and missing the playoffs, was disappointing, but said the team is not packing it in.
“We’re not going to call in and quit,” he said. “We are going to come back and prepare for Sand Springs next week on Senior Night.”
The Plainsmen host the Sandites next Friday at D. Bruce Selby Stadium in the season finale.
BROWSE and BUY photos of action on the sidelines and the field. Check it out.