1967 Stillwater Pioneers Honored
9-30-17 by Jordan R. King
The 1967 Stillwater Pioneers started 2-3.
That team was honored on Friday night as this year's team beat Putnam City West 49-7 in
6AII District 1 play.
Stillwater moved to 5-0 with the win (2-0 in district) and continued the excitement that
surrounds the program.
Bob Smith, who made a video that was shown before and after the game detailing the 1967
season, was the quarterback 50 years ago and he said he can tell this year's team is hungry.
Smith said every year he would get a call from his mother, telling him he remained the only
Stillwater quarterback to win a state championship.
"She'd say 'Bob, you got your claim to fame one more year,'" Smith said. "I've always wanted
Stillwater to win another championship, and I think they will.
"I think [this year's team] has got a real good shot now."
Rod Warner, a half back and defensive back, said it could be lightning in a bottle for the team.
He said it might be time for Stillwater to get its second championship.
"It'd be about time," Warner said.
Warner was one of two starters to play offense and defense. He and John Potts were juniors in
1967 and both played in the secondary; Potts was a wide receiver.
Potts said he has not gotten back much because he lives in Chicago and did not get a chance
to talk to the team. He said he would advise them to savor the moment.
"Go make memories," Potts said. "That's what it's about."
Warner and Smith remembered different things coach Jim Harris did after the team lost its
third game to Norman that they credit for turning the season around.
Warner said from that game on, the team practiced in full-pads every day. He said Harris even
made the team suit up before it got on the bus.
"It got our attention," Warner said. "The seniors did a great job of leading, and us as juniors,
we just followed."
Smith said he threw six interceptions against Norman; a performance he called terrible.
He said Harris came to his study hall, got him out of class and drove him to Hamilton Field,
Stillwater's home before Pioneer Stadium was built.
"He said, 'You're just pressing too hard, you got a great team around you. Let them do the
work, I think we're on the verge of something special,'" Smith said. "We were 2-3. It didn't
make sense at that point to say that, but all the pressure lifted off my shoulders."
Potts said the memory he takes away from the season came in the championship game.
He said the team was losing at halftime, but Harris didn't tell them what they were doing wrong
or right in the locker room.
"Coach Harris walked in and said, 'I think you boys have something to talk about,' and then he
left," Potts said. "It was up to us."
Senior wide receiver Evan Thomas said it was an honor to play in front of the championship
"We were really trying to put on a show for those guys," Thomas said. "It's really special that
they get to come out."
He said he knows several of the players because they are his friends' grandparents and a few
of them have given him advice about his last year.
"They told me to enjoy it while it lasts," Thomas said.