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November 3, 2012

Demons devour Chicks

DUNCAN — The playoff spot was already assured. Now, momentum and confidence are as well.

The Duncan Demons capped off the regular season with a commanding win over Chickasha on Friday, breaking free from three-point lead late in the second quarter to make it a 45-21 rout.

“We just played really balanced on both sides of the ball and on special teams, made stops everywhere and capitalized on offense,” Duncan junior running back/defensive back Connor Kelly said. “We just kept chipping away at them and encouraging each other to go harder. ... And we kept playing better throughout the entire game.”

With the win, the Demons finished third in District 5A-1 and will take on District 5A-2 runner up Bishop McGuinness on Friday in Oklahoma City.

Had Duncan had lost, it could have slipped to fourth in the district, and early on, losing to Chickasha seemed like a real possibility.

A 35-yard touchdown strike by the Fighting Chicks cut the Demons’ lead to 17-14 with 3:07 left in the second quarter, but a 79-yard return on the ensuring kickoff setup a 7-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Tanner Norton, and with a 24-14 lead coming out of halftime, Duncan never looked back.

“I think the biggest thing is we really put the halt to most of (Chickasha’s) passing game,” Duncan coach Jim Holloway said. “Defense had to make a few adjustments, and for the first time all year we didn’t put any pressure on the quarterback.”

Fumbles plagued the Demons once again Friday, as they coughed up the ball three times. In the last three weeks, Duncan has fumbled the ball away 10 times (on 10 total fumbles), while its opponents have only fumbled the ball away once in the last five weeks.

“If we take the turnovers out of it, we probably had a heck of a game as an offense,” Holloway said.

The fumbles wouldn’t prove to be costly, though, thanks to Duncan’s secondary, which picked off the Chicks four times, including two interceptions by senior Ryan Haley, both of which sparked touchdown drives.

“It gives the offense great momentum,” junior running back Je’Mario McCoy said of the interceptions. “We know we need to capitalize on big plays that our defense makes.”

In the second half, Duncan’s defense constricted Chickasha, keeping the Chicks at bay until most of the starters were pulled in the fourth quarter.

“I felt going in that Duncan’s offensive and defensive lines were going to be a big factor and they were. They just wore us down,” Chickasha coach Tom Cobble said. “Their running backs did a great job, too. They ran hard and I was real impressed by them.”

McCoy finished with 167 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries, putting the 1,000-yard mark in sight as he enters the regular season with 839 rushing yards.

In only his second game at halfback, Kelly looked good as he filled in for injured senior Cody Merrill, rushing for 74 yards and two scores on 10 carries.

The Demons will need their running attack to be sharp again next week as they take on a Fighting Irish squad that is coming off its only loss of the season, a 25-12 slip-up to Deer Creek that forced a three-way tie for the district title between those two and Guthrie. After the margin-of-victory tiebreaker Deer Creek finished first, McGuinness was second and Guthrie third.

Duncan knows it will have a tough game on its hands, but after playing a tough schedule and improving through the season, the Demons feel they are ready.

“We have great confidence,” McCoy said. “Our defense is playing really well and we think it can stop anybody.”


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