DEL CITY — With a third-string quarterback at the helm, Del City's game plan was somewhat conservative on Friday night against Duncan — run the ball and play good defense.
Vanilla worked for the ninth-ranked Eagles, who held on for a 14-7 win at Robert Kalsu Stadium that kept them in the thick of the District 5A-1 race. Del City (6-3, 5-1) is a game back of Ardmore and tied with Lawton MacArthur, two teams which meet next week.
If Lawton MacArthur beats Ardmore and Del City beats Southeast — which would forge a three-way tie atop the district — then it's conceivable the Eagles could win the district title. But coach Nick Warehime, while happy his team beat Duncan, wasn't pleased the Eagles didn't secure the maximum number of tiebreaker points.
Del City entered the night 22 tiebreaker points behind MacArthur and 31 behind Ardmore. The Eagles could potentially go 6-1 in district play yet start the postseason on the road.
“We can still win it,” Warehime said. “We just haven't won the last two weeks by enough points. It was 14-12 (over Chickasha) last week in a dogfight, 14-7 here. Points matter in the end. We could be first, second or third, but the points probably hurt us. … It's bittersweet. We needed to win by more points but I'm proud of the kids for coming back and winning the football game.”
Duncan (3-5, 3-3) still can wrap up a playoff spot with a win next week over Chickasha.
Del City's ability to run the ball with senior tailbacks Carnez Brown (18 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown) and Anthony Mason (27 carries for 103 yards) took the pressure off sophomore quarterback Colin Watford, who struggled, completing 9-of-26 passes for 168 yards with one interception.
“That was the expectation, that they (the tailbacks and offensive line) would carry us, and we hoped that we could play great enough defense to defend their stuff,” Warehime said.
Watford, who's 4-0 as the Eagles' starter, did make one big throw — a 69-yard third-quarter touchdown pass to Davion Freeman, who outleapt a Duncan defender for the ball and then sprinted to the end zone. Freeman also caught a two-point conversion pass from Mason to make it 14-7.
From there, Del City's defense did its work. Del City limited the Demons to 178 yards of offense and eight first downs. Duncan's only offensive threat was halfback Je'Mario McCoy, who carried 24 times for 123 yards but fumbled twice.
Duncan did jump to an early lead after taking over on downs at the Del City 48 after the Eagles failed to convert a 4th-and-1. The Demons needed just six plays to score, with McCoy carrying for 18 yards and Stacee Morrison adding a 19-yard run. Quarterback Connor Kelly scored on a 2-yard run and Nathan Rushin added the extra point to make it 7-0 with 1:05 left in the first quarter.
Del City's Marquin Cook recovered a fumble by McCoy at the Del City 35 and runs of 15 and 19 yards on successive plays by Brown quickly propelled the Eagles down the field. Watford scrambled for a first down on 4th-and-6 from the Duncan 12 and Brown scored on a 3-yard run on the next play, but the Eagles missed the conversion attempt, leaving the score at 7-6 with 6:32 left before halftime.