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Bad Field Position Hurts SHS
9-25-16 by Jordan King
Late in the game, Deer Creek punted the ball to the Stillwater 1.
Bad field position for Stillwater was a common theme throughout the game as Stillwater fell to Deer Creek 21-14 on Friday at Pioneer Stadium to open District 6AII-2 play.

Deer Creek, though, had much better luck starting its drives.

The second Antler drive of the second half was key for the Pioneer defense. The Deer Creek (1-3 overall, 1-0 district) offense started on the Stillwater 36 after a failed fake punt. The Antlers could only go backward and had to punt; a huge win for Stillwater.

After the offense went three-and-out, the Pioneer defense found itself in a similar situation, for Deer Creek took over at the Stillwater 49. Deer Creek converted a key fourth down and Zach Kerstetter caught a pass for 25 yards taking the Antlers to the 1. Kerstetter then ran the ball in on a jet sweep, giving the Antlers the lead that they would not relinquish.

After scoring on its first drive, Stillwater (2-2, 0-1) elected to pooch kick the ball to Deer Creek. The Antlers were not able to get any substance going and were forced to punt, pinning Stillwater at its 10.

The Pioneers were stopped and the punt was not a good one. This allowed Deer Creek to start its next drive at the Stillwater 48, leading to a long touchdown pass to Kerstetter on the second play of the drive.

The good field position all night allowed Deer Creek to protect quarterback Hunter Freese. The Antlers minimized the hits on him by successfully implementing short passes and draw plays to neutralize the Pioneer front seven.

"It's always huge for the other team to start with the ball inside the 50," Stillwater senior cornerback Brendan Goad said. "It was killer against us."

The longest drive for Deer Creek was a 67-yard drive that was capped off by a fade pass to Ez Gering. Kerstetter was a force on the drive, accounting for 61 yards on three receptions.

Although Deer Creek had good field position, Stillwater often found itself deep in its territory.

Despite that, the game was tied at 14 when Josiah Castleberry powered his way into the end zone right before halftime. The run capped off an 85-yard drive, which freshman quarterback Gunnar Gundy led.

Long drives were a common theme for Stillwater, for it started inside its 20 on nine of 11 drives.

"It makes it hard," Stillwater coach Tucker Barnard said. "We didn't do a very good job in field position."