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Sports

September 19, 2013

Defending state champions await the Demons

DUNCAN — The Demons opened the season against Guthrie, the team currently ranked No. 1 in Class 5A.

Now the Demons are set to face the defending Class 5A state champions.

The Duncan High School football team heads to Carl Albert Friday night for a 7 p.m. start — a starting time that differs from the usual time of 7:30 p.m.

Some may wonder why the Demons would put such a tough opponent on their schedule, but Demon coach Jim Holloway pointed out that the Demons schedule opponents  years in advance — in most cases, two years in advanced, “but sometimes six.”

Hence there is no judgment used regarding how good teams are from season to season in determining opponents for the schedule.

“You never know how your program is going to change,” Holloway said, adding that there was a time in which Carl Albert’s program wasn’t as strong while Duncan’s was among the best.

Regardless, Holloway said he wants his players to face the best possible competition.

“That’s the only way I feel you can get better,” he said. “Our responsibility to these kids is to make them competitive, not to schedule a game that’s an automatic win. That’s not a philosophy a lot of people share but it’s my philosophy.”

While the Demons are young, Holloway said he has a group of players who are committed to the program.

“There were a couple of kids who moved and a few who didn’t make the commitment to what was required,” he said. “Sometimes the team gets depleted, but you know the kids in the locker room are winners and are committed.”

At the same time, Holloway knows the Demons will not have it easy against Carl Albert.

“They’re just a really good football program and have been for the last dozen years,” he said. “They have an excellent coaching staff who knows how to run a program and they have a pool of players they know how to develop each year.”

As Holloway describes it, Carl Albert subscribes to the philosophy that winning football games means you need to play great defense, have a strong kicking game and run the football well.

“To beat them, you have to be able to run the football, be effective and efficient in the passing game and at least break even in the kicking game,” Holloway said.

Most of all, the Demon coach said, the Demons can’t afford to give up big plays.

The Demons go into Friday’s contest with just one game under their belt, that being two weeks ago against Guthrie. Last week’s home game against Weatherford was cancelled because of heavy rain and lightning.

Meanwhile, Carl Albert is coming off a 43-7 victory against Coweta last week.

Holloway said not playing last week affects the team’s “game conditioning” and “we lose an opportunity to improve physically and we lose game experience.” He said those factors won’t matter as much, though, as the Demons get further into the season.

He added not playing last week gave some players a chance to get healthy again.

“It’s kind of like a bye week in college or in the NFL — it has its drawbacks but its positive,” Holloway said.

Another plus is that, going into Friday’s game, the Demons have had a strong week of practice, the coach said.

“We just keep getting better and practicing better,” Holloway said, adding the players are settling into the routines in practices, the speed of drills and how the scout team can give the offense and defense good looks.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS: To get to Carl Albert High School, head north on U.S. Highway 81 to Chickasha, take Interstate 44 to Oklahoma City, then take Interstate 240 east to Douglas Blvd. Turn left on Douglas, then to SE 29th and turn right. Turn left on Post Road and the stadium is about five blocks to the left.

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