It’s natural to be concerned about a letdown coming off of a big win. But that is not the case for Ardmore coach Douglas Wendel as he prepares his Tigers to take on rival Duncan tonight.

The Tigers enter the contest ranked No. 5 in the state with a 4-1 record following a 29-20 win over then-No. 7-ranked Del City. Duncan is 2-2 on the season, with losses No. 1-ranked Guthrie and No. 2-ranked Carl Albert. A non-district game against Weatherford was canceled because of weather, leaving the Demons with four games this season. Both Ardmore and Duncan are 2-0 in District 5A-1.

“Duncan got our attention pretty quick,” Wendel says. “They are well-coached, and executing well. They are improving each week. Their physicality and discipline are their strengths. They are the most physical and well-disciplined team we have played this year.”

In this day and age of passing the ball up and down the field, Wendel expects tonight’s game to be a throwback, of sorts, as each team seeks to impose its will on the ground.

“It will be a short night with the style of play which makes protecting the football that much more important,” he predicts. “And field position will be that much more important. They are going to grind that clock.”

Duncan likes to run the option out of multiple sets, and lines up mainly out of the 50-front defensively, with multiple looks mixed in. The 50-front will be tasked with stopping an Ardmore offense that had a breakout night against Del City, dominating the line of scrimmage and rushing for more than 300 yards.

“I think we are probably where I thought we would be,” Wendel says. “We had a good gameplan against Del City, and we played good.”

As both teams are leading the district with 2-0 records, the matchup of rivals could cement a shot at a district title as well as a home game in the playoffs.

“They are probably telling their kids they are going to win district if they win this game,” Wendel decides. “Winning this game can put us in the driver’s seat, but the only thing we have talked about is being 1-0 this week. Duncan is a tough environment, and we need to change our fortunes we have had.”