Whether showing off their school spirit for the Duncan Demons or wearing Oklahoma Sooner apparel from head to toe, folks in Stephens County don’t mind showing just how much they care about their favorite sports teams.
In 2012, area teams and individuals showed once again just why their fans are so passionate as they pieced together captivating story lines.
Here are the top 10 Stephens County sports stories of 2012 as chosen by The Duncan Banner sports staff.
1. Undefeated regular season for Comets
Perfection, we are taught, is unattainable ... except in the world of sports.
A pitcher who retires 27 consecutive batters is perfect, as is a team that wins all of its games.
Through three months and 27 games the Velma-Alma boys’ basketball team was perfect, winning the Black Diamond, Stephens County, District, Region and Area tournaments before falling in a 52-50 heartbreaker in the first round of the Class A State Tournament on March 1.
At the center of that success was senior forward Corbin Byford, who rewrote the record books at Velma-Alma during his four years there. He finished with more than 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for his career before heading to Oral Roberts on a basketball scholarship.
2. Bryce Davis becomes a Cincinnati Bengal
By the time Bryce Davis wrapped up his college football career at the University of Central Oklahoma, the Duncan High School grad had proven he was a good tight end and long snapper. As far as a pro prospect, though, few had the Division II football player on their radar.
That didn’t stop the Cincinnati Bengals from signing Davis as an undrafted free agent just after the draft.
Davis defied the odds as he made it through rounds of cuts at Rookie Minicamp, Organized Team Activities, Training Camp and then four preseason games. On the last day of cuts, when teams were forced to submit their final 53-man rosters, Davis was finally cut.
He was almost immediately signed to the Bengals’ practice squad but then got cut from that to make room for another player. On Nov. 27, Davis was again signed to the practice squad.
3. Carletti-Silva signs with Army
Brandon Carletti-Silva showed talent, determination, leadership and poise during his three years as Duncan’s starting quarterback. So much so, that even his opponents took notice.
A recruiter from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (N.Y.) was paying a visit to Lawton MacArthur, when the Highlanders coaches dropped Carletti-Silva’s name. The Duncan senior took care of the rest, impressing the scout and earning an offer to the prestigious school and football program.
In February he signed a letter of appointment before spending this past season with the Army prep squad.
4. Title Wave: DHS, CHS win state golf titles
May 3 was big day for girls golf in Stephens County.
While the Duncan Lady Demons were closing in on a Class 5A state title in Oklahoma City, the Comanche Lady Indians were wrapping up their second consecutive Class 3A title in Eufaula.
Silvia Volonte and Zana Crowson both earned top-10 individual finishes as they led Comanche to a whopping 17-stroke victory over the field.
Amanda Johnson finished eighth, while Allyson Wilcox tied for ninth as they helped Duncan break free from a Day 1 tie with Bishop McGuinness to capture the state title by five strokes.
5. Double Time: Comanche duo repeats as state champs
At the state wrestling tournament, announcers make a point to mention when a wrestler has won multiple titles. It is a rare and special occurrence.
The Comanche Indians managed to make it even more impressive, though, as Garrison McCauley and JonWayne Townsend both repeated as Class 3A state championships on Feb. 25 in Oklahoma City.
Townsend pulled off an acrobatic move to go up 4-3 with just 17 seconds left in his 132-pound championship match, while McCauley got up early and never let his opponent have a chance in his 170-pound title match.
McCauley went on to be named an All-American before signing with Oklahoma University.
6. Lady Demons reach state softball tournament
The Duncan Lady Demons came into the season with several goals, but the one at the top of the list was undoubtedly the biggest: Make it to the state tournament.
After an up-and-down season, they did just that, pulling out a best-of-three series against Guthrie, 2-1, to be one of just eight teams left standing in Class 5A.
In the first round, the Lady Demons drew the unfortunate matchup of powerhouse Grove, which ended Duncan’s season.
7. Dismuke’s career ends in injury at OU
Few players have ever had as much hype coming out of high school as offensive lineman Dylan Dismuke.
After redshirting during his first year, all signs pointed to big things coming from Dismuke this season at Oklahoma. He had climbed to second on the depth chart during the spring practice period and was in-line for some serious playing time on the Sooner’s offensive line, which was in need of depth.
A knee injury that wouldn’t heal, though, dashed those hopes as Dismuke’s promising football career vanished.
Dismuke’s scholarship remains and he intends on getting a degree from Oklahoma.
8. Hammond commits to OU basketball
Many sports fans in Stephens County don’t know Jacob Hammond. In a few years, though, they may be happy to claim him.
Hammond doesn’t play for an area high school, rather, the home school senior plays for the Oklahoma City Sky, a team that travels around the country playing top-tier competition.
After a strong year with the Oklahoma City Storm, the versatile 6-foot-10 forward had the attention of plenty of colleges and on Aug. 23, he gave a verbal commitment to the University of Oklahoma.
Hammond is now a senior and will soon get the chance to sign on the dotted line before joining the Sooners next year.
9. Comets repeat as state track champs
There was never a question as to which boys’ team was the best in Class 2A as the Velma-Alma Comets dominated en route to their second straight state track and field championship on May 5.
Checotah Lynn won the 110 and 300-meter hurdles along with the pole vault, while Corbin Byford won the 400-meter dash, Tyler Smith won the 800-meter run and three Comet relay squads took gold.
Duncan also had several athletes claim Class 5A state track titles. Dylan Mettler won the pole vault, Jared Griffin won the long jump and Derek McKnight won the shot put. On the girls’ side, Jamesia Milton set a state record as she won the shot put.
10. Lady Demons are state tennis runner-ups
With Bishop McGuinness no longer in Class 5A, the door was open for the Duncan Lady Demons to go after a state title.
After Day 1 of the tournament, that door was still wide open before a few tough semifinal matches all but ended Duncan’s chances. That’s when the focus turned to the runner-up title, with Duncan and Cascia Hall neck-and-neck.
Freshman Alex Bowers proved to be the difference-maker as she pulled out a riveting three-set victory in the No. 2 singles championship, claiming the title and lifting the Lady Demons to a runner-up finish.