This one hurt.
The Duncan football team lost to Chickasha 20-14 Friday night, ending the Demons’ postseason hopes.
The Demons needed either a win, or a loss by no more than five points, to secure fourth place in District 1-5A.
But the Fighting Chicks scored a late touchdown and kept a six-point margin, securing fourth by way of tiebreakers and ending Duncan’s season at 3-6 overall.
“There’s nothing to tell those kids that will make them feel better,” said Demon coach Jim Holloway. “I feel bad for the seniors. It’s just like hitting a brick wall.”
Meanwhile, the Chicks celebrated a trip to the playoffs after dropping two earlier district games by close margins — games that might have secured the Chicks a playoff berth sooner had they won them.
“We lost to Del City on a field goal and we lost to Altus on a field goal,” said Chick coach Tom Cobble.
But he was happy his players have advanced to the playoffs.
“These kids are so deserving of this,” Cobble said.
Holloway said his team’s inability to finish a few drives, and to stop a few Chickasha drives, made the difference.
“Offensively, we didn’t finish and we turned it over,” he said. “Defensively, we didn’t have an answer.”
The Demons had plenty of opportunities but had mixed results.
There were a few things the Demons did well. Late in the second quarter, the Demons were pinned at their own 3-yard line, but senior quarterback Connor Kelly broke loose on a 35-yard run, then a 24-yard run, to set things up for Je’Mario McCoy. The senior running back made a 33-yard dash to the end zone.
In the third quarter, Kelly came through in the passing game. He hooked up with sophomore Nathan Clark on a 57-yard pass play.
The downside was the Demons fumbling twice in the first quarter when in the red zone. A third fumble — the toughest fumble to swallow — came late in the fourth quarter, just after the Demons had stopped a Chickasha drive at the 40-yard line.
“We had two great opportunities to score in the first quarter and we couldn’t get it in,” Holloway said.
Crucial penalties didn’t help, either. No penalties were called in the first half, but on the Demons’ first drive of the second half, they got to the Chickasha 14-yard line, only to draw a 10-yard holding penalty on third-and-6.
The penalty took the Demons out of field goal range and they were unable to convert on fourth down.
Chickasha, meanwhile, drew just one penalty, a false start in the fourth quarter.
“That’s huge,” Cobble said. “We played pretty clean and disciplined all year long.”
Senior running back Josh Latham accounted for the Chicks’ three touchdowns. One came on a 47-yard run in the third quarter, just after Duncan had taken a 14-7 lead. He scored earlier on an 8-yard run, set up by a 41-yard run by senior Daniel Neff.
His last score — an 8-yard run — decided the game, with the Chicks taking advantage of field position on the Demons’ third lost fumble and a Duncan unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
McCoy finished with 132 yards rushing on 24 carries and Kelly added 108 yards on 13 carries to lead the Demons. Chickasha was led by Latham with 96 yards on 14 carries and Neff with 92 yards on 12 carries.
Holloway complimented the Chicks for how well they played. Still, he said, the Demons had their chances.
“We just needed to take care of the ball but we didn’t,” he said. “You’ve got to give Chickasha credit. They made more plays than we did in the second half.”
This one hurt.
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