DEL CITY — Del City has made a habit of falling behind early this football season.
Friday night, at home against undefeated Putnam City, something changed.
The Eagles were down by three touchdowns early in the second quarter, turning the ball over four times quickly and struggling to stop Pirates running back Casey Curtis.
Then the light came on for Del City. The Eagles rallied to knock off the Pirates 40-30 at Robert Kalsu Stadium.
"It's unreal," Del City coach Nick Warehime said. "We were desperate for a win."
Del City was down 18-0 early in the second quarter but clawed its way back to 30-28 with Chazten Gonzales' 1-yard run midway through the fourth.
The two-point conversion failed, leaving the Eagles needing a big defensive stop to have a chance.
It didn't look like that was going to happen after Curtis broke off a 27-yard run that gave Putnam City a first down at Del City's 1 with a chance to all but end the game.
But a penalty immediately backed the Pirates off the goal line, and after Curtis took the ball back to the 2 on first down, Putnam City couldn't come any closer and the drive ended on an interception by Latrell Ward.
Del City (2-3 overall, 1-1 District 6A-2) needed just three plays to drive 91 yards and take its first lead of the game as Gonzales hit Marquis Walters for a 47-yard gain on first down, then two plays later made the game's defining play.
Gonzales finished with 134 yards and two touchdowns rushing. He threw for 154 yards and two more scores.
The defining play, though, was a block.
Greg Johnson broke free, but Putnam City defender Cody Minor had the angle on Johnson inside the 5.
That's when Gonzales sprinted into the picture, leveling Minor and springing Johnson free to complete the touchdown run.
"I saw Greg break free and knew I had to go make a block," Gonzales said. "Every game this season we've started off slow. We needed to finish one and tonight we did that.
"This is a big boost for us."
Johnson said he saw Gonzales closing the gap and slowed up a bit to give him time to make the block.
"That was a huge play," Johnson said. "We faced adversity and didn't back down. To beat a team like this in a game like that, it's going to help us out a lot."
Johnson finished with 10 carries for 107 yards.
Curtis finished with 33 carries for 204 yards and four touchdowns, but it wasn't enough to keep Putnam City undefeated.
"Our defense made just enough plays," Gonzales said. "They came through when we needed them."
Bryce Freeman capped the win with a 30-yard fumble return for a touchdown with less than two minutes left.