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Pioneers Edge Out Moore, Move To 2-0
9-9-17 by Jordan R. King
It took Stillwater seven minutes to score.
Gunnar Gundy, Stillwater High School's quarterback, threw a touchdown to Evan Thomas and Stillwater never trailed on its way to a 14-7 win against Moore in a nonconference game at Pioneer Stadium.

Thomas was able to get behind the secondary and outrun the defense for the 65-yard score.

The Pioneers' offense was able to start quickly and rely on its defense and special teams to set it up in good scoring positions.

Winston Watkins blocked a punt on Moore's first possession of the second quarter, which set up the Pioneer offense at the 28. On the first play after the block, Gundy threw to Thomas again for a 28-yard score.

Watkins said it was a turning point for the Pioneers after they scored the second touchdown.

"It was huge," Watkins said. "For the offense to capitalize on that turnover was amazing.

"Really just put the dagger in."

The Pioneers struggled to put the game away in the fourth, including two trips to the Moore 1 that resulted in no points.

Gundy fumbled on both trips, including one snap that went over his head, but he said staying positive was the key.

"It was my fault on both fumbles," Gundy said. "We just stayed composed; my team never got mad at me and I never got mad at them."

Stillwater coach Tucker Barnard said he takes responsibility for the sloppy play.

"I think they were better coached tonight than we were because we obviously weren't taking care of our business," Barnard said.

Barnard said without the three turnovers, the game could have gone differently.

The Stillwater passing offense was efficient; Gundy, who was 3-for-3 for 111 yards in the first half, started the second half with two passes for 58 yards.

Gundy's first incompletion came with 4:02 left in the third quarter.

The Pioneers (2-0) needed the passing game to flourish, for they had little success running.

"We came out throwing over the top [in the second half]," Gundy said. "So I think having the second option to pass the ball is a lot more effective."

Moore (0-2) ran a 3-4 defense and was physical up front, which gave the Stillwater running game trouble.

Senior lineman Stone Mesa said he doesn't think the Moore defensive line outplayed the Stillwater offensive linemen.

"I wouldn't say they were more physical than us tonight," Mesa said. "I averaged double-digit pancakes tonight. I just don't think we hit key responsibilities like we needed to.

"We need to take it back to practice and watch that film."

Goal Line Stand Huge For Pioneers

Stillwater linebacker Winston Watkins tackled Moore quarterback Daniel Hishaw Jr. on fourth down at the 2 to complete a goal-line stand.

The stand completed a first half during which the Pioneers kept the Lions without a score on the way to a 14-7 nonconference victory Friday night at Pioneer Stadium.

That drive was Moore's most successful of the first half, for the Lions gained 60 of their 77 first half yards during the 17-play drive.

Watkins said he told his teammates they were going to stop Moore (0-2).

"[The stop] was huge to make them go zero into the half," Watkins said. "It was amazing.

"Our pursuit showed up in the red zone, everyone swarmed to the ball. One guy cut him, he had to dive and I got him in midair."

Stillwater used blitzes to put pressure on Hishaw and backup quarterback Cameron Allen.

Stillwater coach Tucker Barnard said Watkins is responsible for leading the defense.

"He's kind of gotta get everything right with our defense," Barnard said.

Watkins suffered a right ankle injury with about 10 1/2 minutes left. Less than a minute later, Tony Fogle ran for a 9-yard touchdown, which were Moore's first points.

Watkins missed about five minutes of game time; he said he got his ankle rolled up on during one play and another player stepped on it about two minutes later.

Watkins returned with several minutes left and put pressure on Allen, which forced a contested throw Steven Gentry intercepted.

"I will definitely be playing next week," Watkins said. "I didn't stay out tonight, I won't be staying out next week."

Stillwater (2-0) held Moore to 2.6 yards per play during the first half; the Lions ran 12 more plays than the Pioneers.

It was the second impact play Watkins made during the first half; he broke through the line on a punt on Moore's first possession of the second quarter and blocked the kick.

"They motioned a really skinny guy to block me," Watkins said. "I was like, 'OK, I can do this.' It was a simple swim move and I stuck my arm up there."

Moore's offense had the most success when it went no-huddle, which it used from the last drive of the first half through the end of the game but struggled to score.

Barnard credited Moore's coaching staff with forcing the defense into mistakes.

"They figured out a little bit what was happening, what we were doing defensively and kind of using it against us a little bit," Barnard said. "They did a good job over there."