9-13 Duncan football

Duncan defenders, from left, Kyle Williams and Micah Franklin pursue and tackle a Noble ball carrier earlier this season.

As good as the Duncan Demons’ offense has been over the first two weeks of the season, the defense has been as good, if not better.

Duncan has given up just six points and only 10 first downs. DHS’ defense has yielded just 176 yards. Gabe McGee has two sacks from his defensive tackle position, while junior linebacker Houston Johnson leads the team with 18 tackles.

DHS head coach Jim Holloway has been pleasantly surprised by the play of the defense.

“As a coach, I’m always worried about our defense,” Holloway said. “When you come into the season with inexperienced linebackers, it makes it hard to sleep, and I coach those guys. I knew we would get ourselves lined up, because we have some smart guys in there.

“The first week, I wasn’t happy with our linebackers, but I thought our big guys up front dominated the game. Bryce (Davis) is basically a three-year starter at one end, and Luke (Rightmire) got a lot of playing time last year, and we just haven’t seen Curtis (Mulkey) this year because of illness.

“Justin Rucker was a starter last year, and Kris Vereen will take it to you on the other side. The corners are where we were most experienced and the addition of Lyle Gay makes that position better. We have two good safeties. Our starting defense really hasn’t given up much, but that is going to change Friday.”

Friday is when the Duncan Demons host Class 5A’s No. 1-ranked Carl Albert Titans. The Titans have gashed opponents (Booker T. Washington and Ada) for a total of 722 yards.

The Demons can expect a heavy dose of the run game Friday. Leading the Carl Albert attack is highly touted David Oku, who rushed for 245 yards against Ada last week.

“They make no bones about, they want to run the football,” Holloway said of the Titans. “Gary (Rose) is from the same school that I’m from, and that is if you’re going to win in Oklahoma you have to be able to run the football.

“They run the toss, the sweep and the counter. They expose you to a lot of different formations, a lot like we do, but they are going to run the same plays. We run very similar plays. The big difference is that we do it out of the single wing, and they do it out of the I-formation.”

The Titans did move last year’s starter at quarterback, Joe Stoner, to fullback. Robert Kizer is a senior that moved under center.

“They moved their quarterback from last season to fullback, and you don’t see that change very often. They have improved themselves throwing the ball.”

With the change at quarterback, it does add some question marks to the Titan offense, as far as the ability of the runners goes.

“The quarterback (Kizer) is a guy that we haven’t seen. The fullback (Stoner) is a pounder. The tailback (Oku) is a sprinter. It’ll be interesting if it comes down to a foot race between him and Trent (Wilkins). Their team speed is good, but their team quickness is outstanding.”

Carl Albert won the 5A state title last season, a season in which it beat Duncan 50-7.

“We can’t get behind 14-0 in four plays like we did last year,” Holloway said. “Their first touchdown, we just got whipped. On the second one, we had them in a third-and-12, and we had a linebacker miss a tackle two yards deep in the backfield, and a free safety missed a tackle at the line of scrimmage. And he went 75 yards. We dug ourselves in a hole. What we learned from that, hopefully, is not to turn the ball over and to tackle.”

With an improved defensive unit, Holloway expects a better result this season with Gabe McGee and Charles James in the middle of the defensive line.

“We are much better prepared,” Holloway said. “We have some bulk in the middle. With Charles, Gabe, Brandon (Smiley) and Corey (Longest) we’re a year older.”

Notes: Offensive and defensive lineman Daniel Wilkinson will be out for the next two games after being ejected from the Weatherford game . . . Fullback Lucas Scott is questionable for this week’s game with a knee injury . . . Jace Rogers is questionable for the Carl Albert game after sustaining a concussion.

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