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Gundy Goes Off As Stillwater Dominates Deer Creek
9-23-17 by Jordan R. King
Stillwater quarterback Gunnar Gundy found Evan Thomas in the left side of the end zone with 39 seconds left before halftime.

That capped off a rampant second quarter for the Pioneers as they beat Deer Creek 41-21 in Edmond to open 6A-II District 1 play on Friday night.

Thomas got behind the Antlers' defensive backs twice in a five-play span during the second quarter when Stillwater had the wind at its back.

Gundy found Thomas wide open on the Pioneers' first play of the quarter; Thomas caught the ball just past midfield and ran it to the Antlers' 13. It was 73 of Thomas' 195 yards.

Three plays later, Gundy passed it to senior receiver Garrett Leming in the right side of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown.

Leming, who finished with 123 yards, said the defense tried to play him and Evan with man coverage.

"Gunnar put the ball where he needed to put it, and me and Evan made catches that we need to make," Leming said. "It was good.

"It's fun when you throw it around."

Thomas caught a 51-yard touchdown on the first play of the next drive, which increased Stillwater's lead to 14-0 with 8:06 left in the quarter.

On several plays, Deer Creek had every defensive player within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage; Thomas said he likes to see that.

"It's a lot of fun," Thomas said. "Me and Garrett are faster guys, so when we're running a longer route like a post or a fade, we get real excited."

Gundy finished with 340 yards passing with four touchdowns; he threw a season-high 28 passes.

The Stillwater (4-0, 1-0) defense was able to pressure Deer Creek quarterback Hunter Freese most of the night.

The Pioneers sacked Freese four times in the first half; the Antlers (2-2, 0-1) finished the half with negative-10 yards rushing.

Deer Creek converted a fourth-and-15 into a touchdown with 2:51 left in the second quarter; junior receiver Paxton Gary was able to get a foot down in the left corner of the end zone on a 26-yard pass from Freese. It capped off a 14-play drive.

"Those guys are good, man; and that quarterback, he's probably the best we've seen," coach Tucker Barnard said.

It was a different story on fourth-and-3 in the third quarter.

The Stillwater defense turned Deer Creek over on downs with about a minute left. Gundy threw his fourth touchdown pass with three seconds left in the quarter, for he passed to junior receiver Cal Tracy in the middle of the end zone.

The Pioneers' relied on the pass more than usual. From 10:04 in the second quarter to about the nine-minute mark in the third quarter, Stillwater passed 14 times and rushed none.

The running game was successful in the second half, including three straight runs from senior Tyler Disidore. He gained 28 yards and scored on a run through the left side of the line.

That success continued in the final quarter, for Stillwater ran every play during a 10-play drive; sophomore running back Sean Preston finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.

Disidore said he was happy to be part of a running game that was able to put the game away; something he said he thinks the team has struggled with in recent weeks.

"I got that second wind in the third, fourth quarter," Disidore said. "I just took from there. The guys up front did excellent; I think this is probably the best game they have played."

He said he thinks the team practiced harder this week because the team has struggled against Deer Creek in the past.

"We practiced harder this week," Disidore said. "We put it away; we put it on them this game."