The Duncan Banner
In wrestling, a reversal is worth two points. For Del City’s football team on Friday night, they were worth six points and loads of momentum.
Twice Duncan was inside the red zone, looking to punch in a touchdown and put the pressure on the Eagles. Twice the Demons were stopped, and twice Del City immediately responded with a lengthy touchdown as it clinched the District 5A-2 title with a 23-3 victory at Halliburton Stadium.
“Offensively, we just had a really tough night executing, but Del City has a tough dense and they’ve proven that in every game they’ve played,” Duncan coach Jim Holloway said. “We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Just before the end of the first quarter, Duncan sniffed out a fake punt by the Eagles, tackled the runner and took over on downs on Del City’s 12-yard line. Three plays later, the Demons went for it on fourth-and-2, coming up three inches short on a fullback run.
The failure to convert was tough to swallow for Duncan, but nearly as tough as what happened next: A 98-yard touchdown run by Corey Lawrence to give Del City a 7-0 lead.
The knockout punch, though, didn’t come until the fourth quarter.
The Demons were down 17-3 but were on the verge of making it a one-score game as a 30-yard pass from Tanner Norton to Jack Braught moved them inside the red zone once again. Three plays later the ball popped loose on an option keeper and Del City’s Orlando Sheets scooped it and ran it back 85 yards for a touchdown and a 23-3 lead with 9:13 left.
“When your offense doesn’t capitalize close to the end zone, it’s tough,” Duncan senior defensive back/receiver Ryan Haley said. “And then blown assignments caused (big plays).”
Del City (8-1, 6-0 district) didn’t try to hold back its joy after the game, having clinched a district championship after going 1-9 in Class 6A last season.
“We took such a beating last year in 6A, and to go from where these kids were to where they are now, we’ve got some good players of course, but we’ve also worked really hard,” Del City coach Nick Warehime said.
Duncan (5-4, 4-2) came into the game still in the hunt for a district title, though they needed to force a three-way tie with Del City and MacArthur. Instead, Duncan will have to go on the road in the first round of the playoffs as it will finish either third or fourth in the district. A win over Chickasha next week or a loss by Ardmore against MacArthur would give the Demons the No. 3 seed.
“We still have one goal, and that’s to win a state championship,” Duncan senior offensive lineman Bryan Bradburry said. “We need to come out and finish out our regular season, see who we play in the playoffs and go out and get them.”
While the Demons’ offense struggled to execute on Friday, Lady Luck sure didn’t help.
There were a total of six fumbles in the game (three by Duncan, three by Del City), all six were recovered by the Eagles.
“Every bounce went their way,” Holloway said. “It just wasn’t our night in the fumble and stumble category.
“I told the guys, you look at the scoreboard and see 23-3, but I didn’t see a 23-3 ballgame. We had out chances. We had a ton of chances.”
The Demons had one more trip to the red zone with about 4 minutes left in the game, reaching Del City’s 12-yard line thanks to a 20-yard run by Norton and a 20-yard pass from Norton to Je’Mario McCoy. But Duncan would get no closer, turning the ball over on downs with on the 12 with 3:18 left in the game.
Duncan’s lone score came late in the third quarter as a it drove 64 yards on eight plays before Braught knocked in a 30-yard field goal.