Right now, this season boils down to one game for the Duncan Demons.
Sitting in a tie for second place with Ardmore at 4-1 in District 5A-2, the Demons will hit the road tonight in hopes to claiming sole possession of the No. 2 spot with a win against the Tigers.
The similarities for each team outweigh the differences, meaning tonight’s game could come down to who wants it more.
Both lost two “preseason games” to top ranked teams in Class 5A — Duncan to No. 2 Guthrie and No. 5 Carl Albert; Ardmore to No. 3 McAlester and No. 5 Carl Albert. Both lost to district leader Lawton MacArthur. They run the same defense and eerily similar offenses.
Something’s got to give and Duncan head coach Jim Holloway hopes he has the formula for the Demons to come out victorious.
“We’ve both had a pretty similar season,” Holloway said. “It just boils down to two pretty good football teams playing it out right here at the end of the year.”
Holloway raved about the athleticism of Tiger quarterback Trey Cohee, saying Cohee is a focal point of Ardmore’s offense.
“Cohee is a threat. He’s an outstanding athlete, a three-year starter for them,” Holloway said. “They’ve got a wealth of experience returning at quarterback and just the athlete that he is allows him to make plays happen.”
The Tigers, like the Demons, run multiple offensive formations. Ardmore will line up in the I-formation try to pound the ball. Then, they’ll spread the field and run out of shotgun, where Holloway said they can really do some damage.
“We’ve real similar in offensive schemes that we do,” he said. “They’ll get in the I-formation and have the quarterback under center and try to hammer the tailback up in there. They’ll run some play-action passes and also unbalance you at time. Then, they give you some schemes out of the shotgun and that’s where their
quarterback comes into play. They’ll throw it a little bit, run it a little bit. So, we’re real similar in schemes offensively.”
Running back Andra Brown will head up the backfield for the Tigers. He’ll be running behind a big offensive line that Holloway said has been much-improved this season.
“He’s (Brown) a three-year starter at running back and a real good runner,” Holloway said. “He’s not very big, but he can change directions without cutting. He’s great in the open field.
“Their offensive line’s big. They’ve got some horses up front and they’ve gelled pretty good and becoming more of a factor each week for them.”
Defensively, the Tigers will run a variation of the 50 front, the same defense run by the Demons.
“They can make it look a little different. It can be a 4-2 or a 4-3 sometimes, but it’s a 50 base with all different adjustments that 50 defenses do,” said Holloway. “It looks like we went to the same football school. There’s really a lot of similarities in everything we do.”
Injuries and sickness have taken over on the Demon sideline. Jacquan Beck is questionable with an ankle sprain and Dylan Laurens is recovering from sickness. Both play on the offensive line, but Holloway said the coaches have all the faith in the world in the players they put on the field.
“We went through the first four weeks and didn’t have an injury and we’re making up for it now,” he said. “Corey Hamilton played 36 snaps last week and has progressed quite a bit this week, and we hope to get him back for maybe three-quarters of the game. So, we’ve got some young pups that will continue to have to step up. James Gibson, Caleb Longest ... Both really gave great effort last week. They’re practicing hard and trying to step up for when they need to step up.
“What’s really important is this isn’t their first action. It isn’t their first start. And that’s why we practice those guys. That’s why those guys get reps in practice because you never know when the second or third team guy may have to play, and that’s where we are right now.”
— Ben Whitehead is the sports editor for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 255-5354, Ext. 165, or via e-mail at email@example.com.