DUNCAN — While the No. 2 Ardmore Tigers traveled to Duncan Friday night in search of another district win, what they left with was more than anyone could have ever imagined.
Thanks to an Altus upset over Lawton MacArthur 26-15, the Tigers 28-7 victory at Halliburton Stadium over the Demons officially clinched the district championship with one game remaining in the regular season.
Ardmore currently sits atop the district with an overall record of 8-1 with a perfect 6-0 district record. More importantly, the Tigers currently hold a district point total of +81, with the Bulldogs sitting at +53, meaning it’s mathematically impossible for anyone to dethrone Ardmore.
Duncan dropped to 3-6 overall and 2-4 in district play, eliminating the Demons from playoff contention.
Ardmore will look to wrap up an undefeated district title run at 7 p.m. next Friday night when the Tigers travel to Cameron Stadium in Lawton to face Lawton Mac.
“There’s nothing easy in this district,” Ardmore coach Josh Newby said. “I’m super proud of these young men for learning how to practice, and learning how to care about themselves and their coaches as well.”
“This is a tremendous accomplishment for us,” Newby added. “But we’re all about week 11 and the first round of the playoffs. That’s when we want to play our best football.”
While the result elsewhere wasn’t known until after the Tigers took care of business against DHS, they certainly played like potential champions in the face of adversity.
After a fumble stalled the Tigers opening drive of the game, the Ardmore defense stepped up and got the ball back, which Tero Roberts and the offense gladly took advantage of.
It took just seven plays for AHS to score the opening touchdown of the game, a two-yard run by Cameron Petties, making it 7-0 after the extra point by Rafael Interiano at the 6:22 mark of the first quarter.
However, Duncan got a lifeline when a muffed punt led to another Tigers turnover at the 34-yard line.
Demons quarterback Coby Kirkland found J.J. Harris for a nine-yard touchdown, tying the game at 7-7 with 1:36 left in the first.
The second quarter started with Roberts making plays on both sides of the ball.
First, the junior quarterback got defensive when he picked off Kirkland at the 28-yard line for an interception.
Then, Roberts helped organize a five-play drive which culminated with him giving the Tigers a 14-7 lead when he scored a 20-yard rushing touchdown.
“I’m glad Tero (Roberts) is on our team,” Newby said. “He’s matured as a leader this season and the kids look to him and he usually delivers when looked upon. He’s a great student and again we’re glad to have him on our side.”
Jakwan Anderson also got in on the action on defense, as he managed to earn an interception as well in the second quarter.
Ardmore was perhaps unlucky to have not gotten another touchdown just before halftime, as Chris Lewis managed to strip the ball away from Harris and return it all the way back.
However, multiple flags on the play against AHS negated the score, but the Tigers maintained possession of the ball and the turnover stood.
“We do pride ourselves on taking the ball away from our opponents,” Newby said. “It gives you a great chance to win the game when you win the turnover battle and we did that tonight.”
Ardmore took a 14-7 lead into the halftime break.
Petties gave the Tigers some breathing room in the third quarter when he punched it in from seven yards out for his second touchdown of the game making it 21-7 with 8:35 left.
Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter Braeden Vance sealed the game for Ardmore with a six-yard touchdown run, putting the score at 28-7.
Petties finished with 29 carries for 250 yards rushing and two touchdowns.