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Pioneers Come Up Short In Season Finale
With the playoffs within their reach, the Stillwater Pioneers came up just short in the season finale on Friday night.

Showing the resilient attitude that has defined the team, the Pioneers lost to Owasso 30-20 at Owasso Stadium.

The loss means the Pioneers will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Behind 7-0 early in the first quarter, the Pioneers (2-8, 2-5 in district) elected to go for the first down on fourth down and four. The Rams stopped the Pioneers, and momentum seemed to be on Owasso's side.

On the first play of the ensuing possession, the Pioneers forced a fumble, which King Williams returned 41 yards for a touchdown, tying the game.

The first half continued to be a back-and-forth affair, with the Rams (5-5, 4-3) holding a 17-7 lead just before halftime. The Pioneers drove the ball deep into Owasso territory before quarterback John Littell dove for the end zone, but was stopped just short as time expired in the first half. Coach Tucker Barnard said missed opportunities like that cost his team.

"Tonight, we were so close," Barnard said. "There was that last play of the first half where we're almost in. I thought maybe that ball should have gotten spotted quicker and we could have spiked the ball and had another play. But, if we didn't have to use up all of our timeouts, then we're ok."

Just as they have all season, the Pioneers fought back. Littell led the Pioneers on an impressive opening drive of the second half, culminating in a 3-yard touchdown run by Cameron Mayberry to cut the Owasso lead to 17-14. Unfortunately for Stillwater, that would be as close as they would get the rest of the way.

The seniors fought valiantly in their final game in the Pioneer uniform. Littell finished the game with 151 yards rushing to go with 137 yards through the air. Barnard said he will miss the seniors, and not just for what they did on the field.

"It's one of the things about being a coach that's bittersweet," Barnard said. "Some of these guys weren't very good teammates a couple of years ago but they've matured. They're leaders now. And that's exciting. They're all going to go do some great things with their lives. But at the same time, we're going to miss them."
11-11-13 by Glen Brockenbush