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Opportunity Key For Pioneers Against Mustang
9-11-15 by Patrick Osborne
There will be one thing on the minds of the Stillwater football team come game time this week.


The Pioneers (0-1) will look to capitalize on the opportunity they get this Friday at 7 p.m. when Mustang (1-0) comes to Pioneer Stadium.

"We're talking opportunity," Coach Tucker Barnard said. "We have an opportunity to play one of the best teams in the state."

During the season every week is an opportunity for Stillwater, but the Pioneers are focusing on the opportunity of this week because it also happens to be their word of the week.

The word of the week curriculum, which was started in 2014, gives coaches a chance to talk to players in a way they normally can't.

"We do a character development curriculum," Barnard said. "Last week it was accountability, this week we're talking about opportunity. We'll talk about humility. We'll talk about responsibility. Basically we've got a 36-week curriculum that we go through with the football team."

The Broncos not only provide a tremendous opportunity, but also a hefty challenge for the Pioneers after defeating rival Yukon 72-36 to start the season.

"They're really good," Barnard said. "Like Deer Creek, they're veteran football players. A lot of the same guys that were on the field for them last year are out there starting again."

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Hughes said the Broncos' offense is not only a quick-scoring threat, but also is bigger than the Pioneers' defense at most positions which will fore Stillwater to use its speed to gain an advantage.

"We've got to have a good plan and I feel like we've got a good plan going in," Hughes said. "I think up front, they're bigger than us but our guys are going to go harder. I think our guys are going to come out and get after them. I think we're pretty good on the defensive line so I think that's going to give us a chance to stay in it."

Barnard said Stillwater wants to win the time of possession to try to help the defense against the dangerous Mustang offense.

"I think the biggest thing for us, we've got to be able to control the pace a little bit," Barnard said. "It's funny, for a lot of years now I've been on the hurry up side of the argument and right now we're kind of on the opposite side and we're trying to slow things down."

If the Pioneers can limit the number of snaps Mustang can get off, Barnard believes his team has an opportunity to beat the No. 3 team in 6A Division I.

No matter what happens, the Pioneers are ready for the opportunity to play their first home game of the season.

"I'm fired up," Barnard said. "I think our kids are too. We had an energy about us (Tuesday). The heat and humidity might have zapped some of it out of us (Wednesday) but I think they're excited to play in front of their friends. We had a decent crowd at Deer Creek the other night but there's just something about being in your own stadium."