The Duncan Banner
The biggest difference in the Duncan High School football team’s first two games of the season was how they responded when trailing by a large margin early.
“It was two different teams that took the field,” said Demon coach Jim Holloway, regarding the Demons’ season opener against Guthrie and last week’s game at Carl Albert, in which the Demons faced two of the top Class 5A contenders.
Although both games featured a Demon team that was young and inexperienced, Holloway said the difference was in how the players responded.
Against Guthrie, the Demons gave up good field position early in the game and allowed the Bluejays short field for much of the first half.
Against Carl Albert, the Demons gave up the short field when they fumbled on their first play of the game. The difference was that, on the next drive, the Demons drove the length of the field.
“With Guthrie, we set the table for them,” Holloway said. “With Carl Albert, we made them do something with it.”
The only issue was that the Titans scored two touchdowns on big plays. Despite that, the Demons kept finding ways to drive the length of the field or to come up with big defensive plays.
Interestingly, the Demons gained more first downs than the Titans (23 to 14) and had more yards rushing (321 to 259). But the Titans’ two big plays and the 184 yards passing they tallied made the difference.
As Holloway put it, the Demons needed to do three things to win: Run the ball well, not give up “home run plays” and break even in the kicking game. The Demons ran the ball well and didn’t give up big kick returns, but the “home run plays” were the only thing the Demons didn’t prevent, Holloway said.
“But you expect a team as talented as they are — the defending state champions — you expect them to drive the football and to make plays,” Holloway said.
Regardless, Holloway said there were plenty of positive the Demons can build on as they prepare to host Capitol Hill in the district opener for both teams.
“Our kids took a huge step forward,” Holloway said. “Through the preseason, I think our kids had a challenge to prepare for three quality opponents and two good scrimmages. Now we’ve got to instill into them that the last seven weeks are the more important weeks of the season.”
Holloway said Capitol Hill has scored more points in its first three games of the season “than they scored all last year.” He noted Capitol Hill has a number of experienced players, “more players than I can remember who are seniors.”
Where Capitol Hill has struggled, Holloway said, is in getting its community to support the team.
“I think Jason Webster does a good job, but he just got a tough road to hoe,” Holloway said. “It’s not the same situation as we have, as Guthrie has or as Carl Albert has.”
But it’s still not a game the Demons can take lightly.
“The way we have tried to approach it is this: Our main concern is to take care of the Duncan Demons,” Holloway said. “We’ve told the kids, ‘Let’s improve the Duncan Demons.’ We’ve got to worry about ourselves and build a strong team.”