Williams’ second half INT sparks Stillwater’s road victory
Stillwater’s Steven Brown runs with the ball during the Pioneers’ game against Norman North. Kyle Phillips
photos by Kyle Phillips/The Norman Transcript Stillwater’s Cal Tracy (81) runs with the ball during the Thursday’s game against Norman North at Harve Collins Field in Norman. Kyle Phillips
Kyle Phillips /CNHI Oklahoma Stillwater’s Steven Brown (13) and Qwontrel Walker (1) celebrate a touchdown during the Pioneers’ game against Norman North, Thursday at Harve Collins Field in Norman. The Pioneers won 44-21 to move to 2-0 on the season. See B1 for coverage of Thursday’s game. Kyle Phillips
Kyle Phillips/The Norman Transcript Stillwater’s Anthony Bland catches the ball during the Pioneers’ game against Norman North on Thursday.
NORMAN – Tevin Williams saw an opportunity to make a play and give his team momentum neither squad had late in the third quarter Thursday night.
The Stillwater High sophomore cornerback jumped a short hitch route by Norman North, intercepted the Timberwolves pass and sprinted a few yards before being tackled by the heel of his shoe.
One play later, fellow sophomore Qwontrel Walker broke through the Timberwolves’ defense for his first touchdown of the game. What was a sloppy, stale mate of a third quarter quickly flipped in favor of Stillwater.
The nail in the coffin came two minutes later on Walker’s second rushing touchdown of the night – with just a single second left in the third quarter. The rest is history as Stillwater won the game, 44-21.
“That was a great play,” Stillwater coach Tucker Barnard said. “It was a cut coverage and he jumped right over it. It was awesome. It gave us a big boost and we go score the next play. It was a big boost.”
Williams’ first interception of the season came one play after Walker fumbled and North North recovered at its own 19-yard line. It was the first turnover of the night for either team and it ended a Stillwater drive that began at midfield.
The Pioneers had two drives end in three-and-out before the interception. The defensive play switch momentum in the Pioneers’ favor.
“We called a play to jump the pass and I saw the quarterback look over at the receiver, so I tipped over and baited him into it,” Williams said. “I got excited. … It helped us out. It got everybody’s energy up.”
The other key play in the second half was a Stillwater defensive safety. A Gunnar Gundy punt rolled dead inside the Timberwolves’ 10-yard line, but a NN personal foul penalty moved the ball back to the 4-yard line.
One play later, Timberwolves’ tailback Gabe Trevillison ran a sweep right, but Stillwater senior linebacker Winston Watkins tackled him in the end zone. It was a much-needed tow points for the Pioneers.
“We had a couple of big plays from the defense,” Barnard said. “It takes us all. They made some big plays and we were able to turn around and answer.”
In the first half, Stillwater scored touchdowns on its first three drives of the game. The first time the first-team offense had to punt all season came in the second quarter.
The Pioneers took a quick 14-0 lead after running only six plays. The first drive was two plays that covered 77 yards.
Anthony Bland caught a short pass from Gundy for a first down, made one move on the defender and was off to the races. He sprinted down the SHS sideline for a 75-yard touchdown, just 39 seconds into the game.
After a short Norman North drive, the Pioneers drove 87 yards in four plays, highlighted by a 52-yard catch and run from Steven Brown, in addition to a NN personal foul penalty.
Two plays later, Brown caught a short pass and ran into the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. It was the first of the sophomore’s career.
“We were scoring quick and that puts a defense in a little bit of a bind at times,” Barnard said. “We’ll always take the points. … Gunnar and the receivers hooked up early and that was awesome.”
The third drive of the game for Stillwater went 70 yards on five plays and was aided by a defensive pass interference penalty near midfield. It ended with a 40-yard screen pass to Walker for a touchdown.
Walker finished the night with 23 carries for 119 yards rushing.
“We knew it was going to be tough sledding against that front,” Barnard said. “That (Cole) Mashburn kid –holy smokes that kid is good. We got some young guys on the O-line that struggled a bit against him, but I think we got it figured out a bit as the game went on.”
Gundy finished his night completing 12 of 17 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. He completed passes to six different receivers.
Stillwater is back at home next week when it hosts Southmoore.
Follow News Press sports reporter Jimmy Gillispie on Twitter @jgillispie_stw for updates on Stillwater High athletics. Tags