Trailing 20-0 at halftime, Ardmore didn't back down from Del City's wave of athletes up front.
In the Tigers' 38-26 loss on Friday, Del City bossed the first half, but Ardmore was able to make up some ground after halftime through contributions from the older and younger guard.
Kevion McGee accounted for two of Ardmore's touchdowns, including an 85-yard kickoff return to get the Tigers on the board for the first time.
Varsity veterans Jeff Surrell and Darius Lawson each had rushing touchdowns of 1 yard, and McGee added a 20-yard touchdown reception from Clay Atwood in the fourth quarter.
Ardmore struggled to move the chains in the first half, in turn, forcing the defense into long stretches against Del City's Division I caliber athletes.
"I thought we played hard, got better as the game went on," Wendel said, "We did a lot of growing up in the second half.
"Our offensive line got better as the game went on, and our conditioning allowed us to start moving the ball again."
McGee, a sophomore, provided a spark for the Ardmore offense. Atwood, a freshman, got late action for the Tigers at quarterback, throwing a perfect strike to McGee down the right sideline for the game's final score.
With less than 5 minutes remaining in the game, Ardmore cut the deficit to 32-20, but Del City scooped up a fumble and returned it for a touchdown.
"We got momentum going in the second half," Wendel said. "We felt like we had a chance.
"We talked all week about fighting; we talked all week about being determined and we talked all week about being determined. I thought we did those three things."
Ardmore (2-3, 1-1 District 5A-1) hosts rival Duncan on Friday.