Editor’s Note: This is part two in a series about the Duncan High School Athletics 2018-2019 school year.
When a new coach is hired, sometimes there are growing pains; however, that wasn’t the case for the Duncan football and softball programs as they both were playoff bound in 2018.
Duncan Demons football hired J.T. Cobble, and the softball program hired Jeremy Bates to take over programs which had heavy senior talent and were looking to make one final run with the Class of 2019.
Cobble came from Stillwell; Bates came from Moore, and both spent the summer preparing for their first games, which both started with big winning streaks.
For the first time since 1997, football started the year 7-0. The Lady Demons softball team went 8-1, including four big district wins early in the 2018 season.
As the season went on, it was clear that both of the programs were heading to the playoffs. Both teams playoff fates were decided early into their season, and both teams were looking for home playoff matches.
Duncan’s football program went undefeated until facing the eventual district champions, Ardmore, and had big victories against MacArthur and Altus to finish the season second in district play.
The second place finish guaranteed the Demons to host a Class 5A First Round State Playoffs game, while the Lady Demons secured second place with big victories over Ardmore and Altus late in the year.
Duncan softball hosted regionals as the No. 1 seed, and at home, got the big 14-2 win over Noble to start the regional tournament, which was followed by a loss to Woodward 8-6 to send them one game away from elimination.
Facing Noble again, the Lady Demons eliminated the Lady Bears with an 18-2 victory and got a re-match with the Woodward Lady Bombers on day two of regional play.
In game one, the Lady Demons got the 5-3 victory to send it to a winner-take-all game, where the Lady Demons ended up falling short, 10-2, and one game away from the State Tournament.
As a highlight to their program, all five seniors signed to play collegiate softball, which was the only sport where all of the seniors signed to play at the next level.
After the conclusion of the regional championship game, Bates said how much the five seniors meant to the Lady Demons, and he challenged the underclassmen after the game.
“That is our top five hitters in our lineup, so we have a lot to replace with a lot of offense,” Bates said. “It is going to be tough to replace that kind of offense, but I told the underclassmen before we left that practice begins Monday, and we got to get better if we want to get back to this situation.”
For the Demons football program, after getting a big senior night victory against Altus and securing second place, Duncan faced Guthrie in the first round of the playoffs with a 9-1 record.
After battling for four quarters, the game had to come down to overtime, and the Demons season ended shorter than they wanted as the Blue Jays ended Duncan’s season at 9-2.
Cobble lead the team to a six-win improvement. To say he was proud of the team would be an understatement, and after the playoff game, he made sure to praise his team for the good year.
“You hate to lose any game in that fashion, let alone the last one of the year, but we didn’t execute the way we needed to in certain areas in the game,” Cobble said. “This team went from 3-7 last year to hosting a playoff game against a really good tradition-rich football team in Guthrie, and that is what we set out to do. Their goal has been reached, and everything else from here was gravy. I’m so proud of these kids.”