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Pioneers Have Huge Opportunity On Senior Night
10-22-15 by Patrick Osborne
They've been in this position before.

The Pioneers face a similar situation to the previous season when they take on the Putnam City West Patriots in a Class 6A District 2 game Thursday night at Pioneer Stadium.

The 2014 Stillwater football team needed a win on senior night against Lawton Eisenhower to secure the four seed in the playoffs. Now, a win against the Patriots on senior night would do the same and possibly more.

With a win, the Pioneers (3-4 overall, 2-1 in Class 6A District 2) would be in position to possibly host their first playoff game at Pioneer Stadium.

"We talked about that today," Stillwater Coach Tucker Barnard said. "The importance of this game. We can't overstate the importance of this game. We told them that's not to put pressure on the situation, it's to understand that it's important."

The players know the importance of this game against the Patriots (3-4, 1-2). Although it's important to the Pioneers to secure a spot in the playoffs, it's also equally important for the seniors to have one final win at Pioneer Stadium.

"I think (a win) would be huge," senior defensive tackle John Latzke said. "Send the fans off with a good taste in the mouth. I think we can do it."

Although the final home game is always a special night for seniors and their parents, Latzke said the seniors approaching this the same as the previous home games instead of focusing on the importance of it.

"It's not too different," he said. "Obviously it's a little sad knowing that this is my final home game of my career but other than that it's not different from a regular game. As a senior, they're all kind of big because this is the final run."

For the underclassmen, quarterback Jace Brownlee said there is pressure to win for the seniors on their night.

"I feel like there is," he said. "Especially for Jordan (Brown). I mean that's one of the biggest reasons why I played this year, because I care about all the seniors and I wanted them to have a good season so I feel like I need to perform better than I usually do for them."

Although the Pioneers didn't win their first game until week four against U.S. Grant, safety Christian Bahl said they always believed they would have this sort of opportunity come senior night.

"I think a lot of us got down being 0-3," he said. "But we knew with the teams we had to play in order to make the playoffs we would still be able to do it because we knew we could beat those teams. We knew how good we were."

Although Bahl isn't a senior, he said he wants to see a big crowed on the home side of the stadium to give the senior the send off they deserve.

"Come out and watch," he said. "It's going to be a fun game. Something special is going to happen."

No matter what happens though, Barnard said this would be a night the seniors would never forget.

"It's one of those special Hallmark nights," he said. "The final home game. It's a neat time. One of the things we're going to talk about is making it a special memory. It's going to be a memory one way or the other so you want to make it a special one by giving it everything you have."