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Pioneers Come Home For Homecoming
9-25-15 by Kurtis Quillin
Following a rough start, the Pioneers are coming home for homecoming.

In fact, Stillwater dominated its homecoming opponent, U.S. Grant, last year 42-6. The Pioneers won the toss last year, deferred and kicked off both halves.

But, coach Tucker Barnard said homecoming is one of the most memorable moments in high school, especially for seniors.

"It's always a neat time for kids," Barnard said. "I remember homecoming when I played, especially my senior year. I think, probably, before your senior year a lot of those things go a little unnoticed or under the radar. But when you're a senior you start hanging on to all those moments."

This year's Pioneer roster features 24 seniors, four of whom are vying for a chance to be Stillwater High School's homecoming king. Braxtun Brown, Josh Varnum, Gage Strom and Jaden McCune will be standing at the 50-yard-line before Friday's game.

"Homecoming is a really big deal at a lot of schools and this is one of them," McCune said. "Homecoming to me, it's special to be a part of it, especially my senior year but it's just an event in the timeline of my life."

Barnard said he's going to try to stay neutral among those four. "I'm Switzerland in this whole thing," Barnard said.

Stillwater lost its homecoming game last year, though, 26-27 to Midwest City a week following the win against Grant.

Junior Connor Wilcoxen isn't quite at the point in high school Barnard described earlier. However, homecoming still carries meaning.

"It's where all your family comes and friends come to watch you," Wilcoxen said. "It's just really fun to be there and witness who's going to win, because my cousin is in it this year."

Wilcoxen's cousin, Braxtun Brown, was one of the coaches' players to watch this season but missed last week's loss to Edmond North for an undisclosed knee injury.

McCune will miss Friday's game as well with an injury to his right hip sustained during the Edmond North loss. Also out is Trey Carter.

Carter, a senior, is having his wisdom teeth removed according to Wilcoxen. In another "somebody has to win" game, Barnard said one thing especially helps to not overlook the Generals.

"We have the same number of wins right now as they do," Barnard said. "[Not overlooking them] shouldn't be too hard."