DUNCAN — Every Monday during football season, I will take some time to examine the week that was.
Bring on “football weather”
I’m still waiting for a night of true football weather.
We’ve had a night of cool weather, and there have been a couple nights where it has gotten misty, but there hasn’t been a real nasty fall night yet. You know, the kind of cold, wet autumn Friday night that every football fan hates and loves at the same time.
When I think of late-season high school football, I conjure images of players standing on the sideline in mud-soaked uniforms cheering on their teammates, who try to keep their footing as they slog away in the trenches.
Here’s the bright side — well, actually, the partially cloudy side—Friday’s forecast (for now) calls for highs in the 50s and a chance of rain.
Hungry for more
Duncan, Empire and Velma-Alma secured spots in the postseason on Thursday, but none of them are satisfied yet.
The Demons have made no secret that their goal this season is to win a district championship. Despite a district loss to Lawton MacArthur, that goal is still within reach, though it will require a huge performance on Friday. Duncan not only needs to beat Del City, but it needs to win by at least two touchdowns, so that if there is a three-way tie between Del City, MacArthur and Duncan for the district title, they could have an edge in a tiebreaker.
Empire had its targets set on a district championship as it hosted Ringling on Friday night. Ringling’s win, though, all but assured it the title. Now that the title is out the window, you can bet the Bulldogs are reassessing their goals and are now locking in on a runner-up finish and a home game in the first round of the playoffs.
Standing in Empire’s way is Velma-Alma, which is also looking for the runner-up spot, which could very well be decided on Friday as the Bulldogs and Comets square off.
Injury bug spreads
Several teams have been hit hard by the injury bug this season.
Comanche has been decimated at times by injuries, while Duncan has had to sit out key pieces and Velma-Alma has had to quickly fill in for some of its biggest weapons.
Marlow took a tough hit Thursday as junior tailback Trey Coffman injured his ankle at perhaps the worst possible time. He sat out the last three quarters of Thursday’s tough district loss to Little Axe and it would be hard to imagine him back at full strength on Friday in a must-win for Marlow, which is trying to salvage a playoff spot.
After each week I will update, who I think is in the running for Area Player of the Year, the same way that analysts debate who is in the running for the Heisman Award after each week of college football.
Okay, it’s time to get serious.
With eight weeks in the books, there are only a few players that are truly in consideration for the top award on the All-Area team. Sure, there have been tons of players that have had a great game or two, but when it comes to the consistency it takes to be crowned the area’s best player, there are only four left on my list.
Though Central High has cooled off from its 5-0 start, junior running back Kevin Harris is still going strong, racking up another 142 yards and a touchdown on the ground in Thursday’s loss to Alex.
Despite his lumbering size, Dallen Mercer has great closing speed both on the football field and in the Player of the Year race. Velma-Alma’s senior running back has posted enormous numbers ever since quarterback Ty Richardson went down with an injury. On Thursday, Mercer piled up 229 yards on the ground and three touchdowns in a 36-0 win over Rush Springs.
Like Harris, Empire sophomore quarterback/receiver/running back Dillon Twigg wasn’t a player that came into the season with a lot of hype, but by now he’s surely on the top of every opponent’s scouting report. Tigg found his way into the end zone twice on Thursday against Ringling, on a 2-yard run and a 19-yard interception return.
While the other three candidates have shown plenty of versatility throughout the season, the most versatile of the bunch is Duncan’s Jack Braught. The senior who plays punter, kicker, defensive back and wide receiver made his fourth touchdown catch of the season on Thursday, adding to his season stats which including making 2-of-3 field goal attempts, 18-of-21 extra points and picking off two passes.
Greg Crews is sports editor of The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 143 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.