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The Demons remain in the playoff hunt but must be careful not to look past their next opponent.
That’s how Duncan (2-2, 2-4) football coach Jim Holloway views this Friday’s District 1-5A home game against Southeast (1-3, 2-5). Although Southeast’s only district win is against Capitol Hill, Hollloway said that the Spartans cannot be taken lightly.
“You let a team like this hang around and, pretty soon, you are in a dogfight,” Holloway said.
He said it will be important for the Demons to start strong so that “in the first five, six or seven minutes of the ball game, you leave no doubt who is going to win.”
Holloway described Southeast as having more athletic players but the Spartans aren’t as strong with techniques and fundamentals as other teams Duncan has played. He said Southeast senior running back Denzell Williams could play for any team in the district, and three-year starter, senior Marguess Smith, is a strong offensive lineman.
The Demons will need to win their next three games to have a shot at second place.
“It’s clear to everybody, coaches and players alike, where we are and what we need to do,” Holloway said. “The best avenue is to win three straight games and, depending on the point differentials, we have a chance to be second.”
Holloway admitted that giving up a late touchdown at Lawton MacArthur last week “may come back to haunt us” in point differentials. The Highlanders beat Duncan 71-56 and have a 15-point differential for any tiebreaker scenarios.
What Holloway said made the difference against MacArthur was that the Demons didn’t play well enough defensively to make the Highlanders “one dimensional.”
“When we didn’t do that, the advantage went to the offense,” he said.
The Demons answered with their own strong offensive production. Holloway said that the coaching staff called for more passing plays than what the statistics showed, but that senior quarterback Connor Kelly opted to run when he found nobody open.
“We take the approach that we need to run the ball first, but we know we want to have a good passing game,” Holloway said.
The Demons have made the playoffs seven times in Holloway’s nine years as head coach. The only years they missed the playoffs were 2006 and 2008.
“Duncan has a proud history in football,” Holloway said. “What we want to do each year is build on our successes and never be satisfied with where we are.”