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October 16, 2013

Key district game awaits Demons

DUNCAN — A short week of practice can make it tough to prepare for a game.

That’s what Duncan football coach Jim Holloway said makes Thursday’s game at Lawton MacArthur (4-2) particularly challenging.

“You have to condense four practices into that time frame,” he said. “It’s not just learning new stuff, but the mental preparation has got to go twice as fast.”

Additionally, MacArthur is more accustomed to playing Thursday night games, because the school shares a stadium with Class 6A schools Lawton High and Eisenhower.

Nonetheless, the Demons (2-3) will work to improve and keep themselves in good position in District 1-5A. The two teams have identical 2-1 district records. Duncan, along with its loss to Ardmore, holds district victories against Capitol Hill and Altus. The Highlanders have beaten Chickasha and Southeast but lost to Del City.

Holloway said that Duncan’s mistakes on offense and Ardmore’s speed on defense each played a role in the outcome of last week’s 28-0 loss.

“Collectively, as a team, that was our worst night to execute our offense all season long,” he said, adding that it wasn’t at any one position, but all around.

Along with better execution on offense, Holloway said the Demons need to do a better job of punting and win the battle of field position. In last week’s game, one Duncan fumble was returned for an Ardmore touchdown and another Demom fumble gave the Tigers good field position. The Tigers’ other scores were set up on short field because of punting problems — one from a short punt and the other when a low snap forced the punter down to one knee.

The end result was, despite the Demons outgaining the Tigers on offense, 235 yards to 196, the Tigers took advantage of good field position and scored off short drives.

“That’s why stats can be misleading,” Holloway said. “When you look at the box scores, what you really want to look at are interceptions, fumbles, penalties, punting, punt returns and kick returns. These areas are far more important than stats than rushing and passing totals.”

Holloway described MacArthur as having exceptional athletes with a lot of speed, meaning it will be important for the Demons to execute offensively.

He said that the Highlanders have mostly run a 5-2 defense this season, but for one game, they switched to a 4-2 defense, which they usually ran in past seasons.

“We are accustomed to seeing them adjust their defense to what we do on offense, and we do the same,” Holloway said.

MacArthur will line up in the shotgun on offense, with sets ranging from an empty backfield to three backs. Holloway said that the Highlanders will stretch the field horizontally.

“They make you defend the entire field, sideline to sideline and end zone to end zone,” he said.

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