The battle for field position did not go the Demons’ way.
The Duncan High School football team opened the season Friday, hosting one of the top teams in Class 5A, the Guthrie Bluejays.
Mistakes on special teams after the Demons’ first two drives stalled led to the Bluejays starting their first two drives deep in Demon territory, with Guthrie scoring on both.
And just after the Demons got on the scoreboard, the Bluejays returned a kickoff for a touchdown. Duncan could never get momentum back, losing 46-6.
“We didn’t get off to a good start,” said Demon coach Jim Holloway. “We like to be fast out of the gate, but we snapped the ball over the head of our punter and gave up good field position. We gave up six points too quickly.”
The bad snap happened after Duncan’s first drive stalled. Punter Cody Hood tried advancing the ball but was tackled at the Demons’ 13-yard line. The very next play, Guthrie’s Kai Callins scored on a 13-yard run.
The Demons’ next drive stalled at the 30-yard line and an apparent miscommunication led to a fake punt attempt that didn’t work. The Bluejays capitalized, with quarterback Reed Roberts hooking up with Donovan Jordan on a 16-yard pass play that ultimately led to a 2-yard touchdown run by Idae Alexander.
Guthrie added a field goal early in the second quarter, before Duncan finally got on the board. Demon quarterback Connor Kelly first connected with Spencer Cagg for a 21-yard gain that took the ball to midfield, then on third-and-four, hooked up with Nathan Clark on a 45-yard touchdown pass.
But the Bluejays took the momentum right back after Donovan fielded the ensuing kickoff and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown.
“We battled back and let them have that long kickoff return for the touchdown,” Holloway said. “Our field position was horrible all night long.”
Alexander scored another touchdown, on a 3-yard run, before the first half ended.
Bluejay coach Rafe Watkins said the three things he’s always concerned with regarding the first game are “special teams, penalties and turnovers.” Guthrie had the only turnover of the game — a fumble which Duncan recovered early in the third quarter — and had 65 yards lost to penalties, but the battle on special teams was in the Bluejays’ favor.
“They had a couple of bad breaks with their punt team,” Watkins said, “while we had too many penalties and some things we got to clean up.”
Yet despite the final score, Watkins believed the Demons will be in the playoffs by season’s end.
“I know Jim Holloway and his staff will get them turned around,” he said. “Hopefully we don’t see them in the playoffs too early.”
Holloway attributed the Demons’ mistakes to inexperience. Although the Demons were able to force a couple of punts, Guthrie’s offense seldom lost control.
“They’ve got an experienced offense, we have an inexperienced defense and it showed on the scoreboard,” Holloway said.
Guthrie added two more touchdowns in the second half. The first came on a 4-yard run by Alexander late in the third quarter and the second came late in the fourth after a 2-yard run by Tanner Meredith.
Kelly led the Demons in rushing with 45 yards on 17 carries. He passed for 67 yards, completing 4-of-10 passes.
The Bluejays rushed for 173 yards, with Alexander tallying 63 yards on 16 carries and Callins adding 66 yards on seven carries.
Despite the loss, Holloway remained optimistic that the Demons will improve.
“We’ll build on the strengths we find and try to eliminate the weaknesses,” he said. “It’s a disappointing loss but it’s not discouraging.”
Special teams miscues by Demons costly in opening loss to Bluejays
The battle for field position did not go the Demons’ way.
Demon golfers compete at Lincoln Park
The Duncan boys golfers competed at a tournament at Lincoln Park Golf Course in Oklahoma City Thursday.
Individual scores were Blake Graham with 76 and 79, Logan Harris with 76 and 75, Tyler Albin with 77 and 78, Christian Dructor with 78 and 86, and Carson Hogstad with 80 and 83.
Track teams head to Norman
The Duncan track athletes travel to Norman today for a meet at the University of Oklahoma.
Duncan boys coach Todd Ledford said that the Demons will be one of just three Class 5A teams attending. The rest of the teams are 6A.
Demon baseball beats Plainview in extra innings
The Duncan baseball team had to go extra innings and then hold off a late rally to win at Plainview 3-2 Thursday.
The game was tied 1-1 after seven innings. The Demons broke the tie with two runs in the top of the eighth, but Plainview battled back to make it 3-2 in its half of the inning.
More home tourney action awaits Demons
Another weekend of home matches await the Duncan tennis teams.
The BancFirst Tournament will be at the Duncan High School tennis courts, with the girls playing Friday and the boys Saturday. The tourneys come one week after Duncan hosted the Southern Oklahoma Invitational.
Bulldog pitching staff builds confidence
Heading towards the postseason, Empire is closing in on the possibility of winning record thanks in large part to its improvements on defense.
The Bulldogs (10-11) have cut down the errors from 10 or more a game to two or three a game. Coach Stefan Hunt said that’s led to the pitchers seeing some better results on the mound. Though, the pitchers have improved their game as well.
Demons in close district race
The Duncan baseball team is in a close race to finish in the top four in District 2-5A and earn a trip to regionals.
Duncan is 7-3 in district and in third place. First-place Carl Albert has lost just one district game. The Titans split with second-place Chickasha, which also split with Duncan.
Gayanich to play for Panhandle State
Velma-Alma senior Jaz Gayanich signed Wednesday to play basketball for Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell.
Gayanich said Panhandle coach Jerry Olsen was upfront about his program and ideas, compared to other coaches Gayanich visited. Gayanich already knows what role he’s expected to play.
Those who knew John Humphrey respected him
Duncan resident Rod Battles got to know John Humphrey pretty well.
Battles first played Duncan High School baseball for Humphrey in 1965. He later returned to DHS, when Humphrey hired him as an assistant, and later head baseball coach. After both men retired, they became fishing buddies. Humphrey joined Battles and others for annual trips to Lake Texhoma.
Comets stay calm under pressure
Lately, Velma-Alma baseball has made a habit of having some exciting finishes.
In its home tournament, the Jake Leffler Wooden Bat Tournament, last weekend, it won four of five games. All of those victories came by less than five runs and two of them were by only one run.
Course challenges Lady Demons
The Duncan girls golf team took sixth at the longest course it has played this year.
KickingBird Golf Course is 5,300 yards. Add the windy conditions at the tournament hosted by Edmond Santa Fe and it made for a challenging day.
- More Sports Headlines
- Demon golfers compete at Lincoln Park