STILLWATER — Losses in state championship games are tough to get over, but they're even tougher when one of your friends is carted off the field and taken away in an ambulance.
That's what happened to Kingfisher quarterback Derek Patterson who was knocked out of Kingfisher's 35-0 Class 2A state championship loss Saturday afternoon at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Patterson was rocked by a late hit from Lincoln Christian linebacker Zach Fullingim in the second quarter, who was penalized on the play. But the damage for Patterson and Kingfisher was done as the junior laid on the turf during a 25 minute pause in the game.
Patterson was taken to Stillwater Medical Center, though Kingfisher coach Jeff Myers said after the game X-rays were negative.
The junior left with 69 yards passing and another 32 yards rushing, but Kingfisher didn't get another first down the rest of the game as senior receiver Jordan Woods took over at quarterback. Kingfisher's back up quarterback, Logan Nault, was injured during practice Friday and was unavailable.
"It was huge," Myers said. "Our offense wasn't what it was supposed to be (after that)."
And neither were the minds of Kingfisher's players who had to fight on without their leader.
"We fought for him," running back Jacob York said. "We were trying to come through for him and get a little revenge.
That's what was on linebacker Rhett Blundell's mind whose thoughts immediately turned to his teammate during and after the game.
"Derek's my best friend, he has been since we were little," Blundell said. "It turned into a personal thing after that. I was thinking about him during the game. It was hard to put out of your mind."
But Lincoln Christian (14-1) didn't hold back as tailback Matt Lawwill rushed for 182 yards on 34 carries and scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Cole Grauer was efficient throwing for 207 yards on 18 completions with eight going to Roman Wilson who finished with 120 yards.
Kingfisher did slow Lincoln Christian down in the second half. Jeremy Smith had a late interception for the Yellowjackets but Kingfisher could never get on track offensively. Their longest play of the day was a 26-yard run by Patterson.
"I thought our defense did a good job in the second half," Myers said. "We never quit."