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Untimely Turnover Dashes Stillwater's Hopes
10-10-16 by Sam Grubenhoff
Stillwater's homecoming was not a happy one.

For the second consecutive week an untimely turnover dashed the Pioneers' hopes for a fourth-quarter comeback, and Stillwater fell to Lawton 21-14 on Friday at Pioneer Stadium.

As the clock turned to the fourth quarter, Stillwater (2-4 overall, 0-3 6A II-2) had control of the game's momentum, thanks in large part to the return of senior wildcat quarterback Jace Brownlee from a separated left shoulder suffered during last year's wrestling season. Brownlee was cleared for practice Monday after sitting out the Pioneers' first five games

With 10:09 left and the game tied at 14, Brownlee and junior running back Tyler Disidore carried the Pioneer offense into Lawton territory, seeking its first lead. On third-and-1, Brownlee fumbled the ball and with it, the team's momentum.

Stillwater Coach Tucker Barnard said mistakes such as Brownlee's arise from a lack of conditioning that comes with coming off an injury.

"He was tired," Barnard said. "We had to watch that and be kinda cautious with it. You get fatigued, and then you lose the football or make a bad cut that ends up being minus 2 yards instead of a plus 1."

The Pioneers got the ball back with 9:26 to go after senior safety Christian Bahl intercepted Kyler Jenderseck, but the damage was done. Stillwater looked disjointed on the ensuing drive, turning the ball over on downs after Brownlee managed 2 yards on fourth-and-3 from Lawton's 44.

On the next play, Lawton running back Min Lee cut left and ran 57 yards down the sideline for the winning score.

Despite the loss, Brownlee said he thought his debut was successful.

"They had no film on me, so I felt like that made myself like a secret weapon," Brownlee said. "They'll be expecting me next week, but I'll be in better shape, and I'll be even better than I am now."

Brownlee finished with 123 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. His touchdown came on the Pioneer's first drive of the second half from 6 yards to tie the game at 14.

The first half was a sluggish one for the Pioneers.

Stillwater failed to score on each of its first four possessions. Junior quarterback Garrett Leming's struggles from the past two weeks continued, for he couldn't complete any of his six first-half passes.

On the Pioneers third drive and the game scoreless, Leming was intercepted on a designed roll out to his left, his fourth in the past two games. On the ensuing play, Jenderseck hit receiver Dominick Neal on the left sideline for a 25-yard touchdown to put the Wolverines (3-3, 2-1) up 7-0.

On the ensuing drive, Stillwater turned to a combination of freshman quarterback Gunnar Gundy and Brownlee.

Gundy was only slightly more effective than Leming, going 4-of-13 for 21 yards and 9-yard touchdown pass to Enoch Jackson to end the first half.

Senior running back Connor Wilcoxen offered a simple solution to Stillwater's stymied offense after the Pioneer's third consecutive loss.

"Just pick it up," Wilcoxen said. "You go harder in every practice, you play for each other, and we gotta score more points."