DUNCAN — Every Monday during football season, I will take some time to examine the week that was.
Losses Worth Celebrating
Junior running back Je’Mario McCoy stared at the ground between his shoes as he sat on the bench with a towel draped over his head. Other Duncan players were chewing on the end of their mouth pieces or blankly watching the scoreboard as the final seconds ticked off the clock, none able to hide their disappointment in Friday night’s 15-0 loss to Lawton MacArthur.
In Fox, it was likely a similar scene as Central High fell to the Foxes, 50-22.
In both cases, though, the losing team proved something.
MacArthur (District 5A-2) and Fox (District B-2) came into the season as the hands-down favorites in their respective leagues. On Friday, both were fighting for their lives.
Duncan had opportunities to beat the Highlanders, who were taken down in the back field 14 times Friday.
Central High certainly had a chance to win as well, leading 14-0 in the second quarter.
The losses sting, as any loss does, but the shouldn’t rattle either team’s confidence. They played the best their districts had to offer and they proved they are a worthy opponent. That’s got to take away a little bit of the sting.
Injury Bug Becomes Pneumonia
Chemistry is important for teams. So is determination, attention to detail and of course talent. Nothing, though, is more crucial to success than staying healthy.
In the first seven weeks of the season, there haven’t been many “devastating injuries,” but the sprains, bruises and breaks are starting to weigh teams down.
With fullback Jeff Bear on the sideline wearing a sling for the second straight game, the Demons got even thinner at fullback for a while Friday as Logan Gadbow got shaken up and had to come out, leaving Cameron McGill to go both way full-time for a while.
Velma-Alma fans were holding their breath as senior running back Dallen Mercer took the field while still nursing a sprained ankle. The Comets’ success for the rest of the season will ride heavily on Mercer with sophomore quarterback Ty Richardson out the rest of the year with a broken leg.
No team, though, has been hit by the injury bug quite like Comanche.
The Indians have been riddled with every type of ailment at about every position. In the second half Friday, as they were trying to mount a comeback at Washington, the Indians were without their top two offensive threats — quarterback Kale Reed and running back Clayton Fennell.
If Comanche is going to make a run to the playoffs, they will have to get healthy, and then stay healthy.
If the playoffs started this week, Duncan, Empire, Velma-Alma and Central High would be in, the other four area teams would be out.
Marlow, Comanche and Waurika can still realistically get in, but they have some serious work to do. Marlow needs to win its final three games, Comanche needs to win two of its last three (beating Hobart and Hinton) and barring anything crazy, Waurika needs to win out.
After each week I will update, who I think is in the running for Area Player of the Year, the same way that analysts debate who is in the running for the Heisman Award after each week of college football.
Anyone still doubting Kevin Harris may want to take another look at Friday night’s game. Against possibly the best team in Class B, the Central High junior running back personally racked up 20 points (amazingly, that will lower his average) as he ran for two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion and returned an interception for anther touchdown. Yes, he plays eight-man football, and yes he is only a junior, but as Lee Corso would say, the kid is money, he’s an ATM, an automatic touchdown machine.
Despite a hobbled ankle, Dallen Mercer again established himself as perhaps the best pure running back in the area as the Velma-Alma senior carried the ball 15 times for 199 yards and three touchdowns.
Kale Reed only had one half of play before injuring his shoulder and exiting the game Friday, but in that half he managed to run for 96 yards and a touchdown, while also throwing for 34 yards, keeping Comanche’s senior quarterback right in the mix of things for Player of the Year.
Empire’s Dillon Twigg is just a sophomore, but his numbers, and versatility, continue to impress. On Friday, he ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns, made three catches for 75 yards and returned a punt for a 65-yard touchdown.
Greg Crews is sports editor of The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 143 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.