Across from Noble Stadium, a big top tent is raised. The real circus comes to town tonight on the football field.

Across from Noble Stadium, a big top tent is raised. The real circus comes to town tonight on the football field.

Ardmore’s game against Duncan has more on the line than just a last home game for the Tigers’ 12 senior players. The game stands as the tiebreaker between the second-place teams in District 5A-2. The winner gets a home playoff game. The loser will be on the road, likely against 5A-1 power Carl Albert.

If the Tigers (5-2, 4-1 district) beat the rival Demons (4-3, 4-1) and take care of business against Altus in week 10, there will be Senior Night part 2 in the first round of the playoffs.

In his third season at Ardmore, never has more been at stake for coach Larry McBroom, who’s 1-1 against Duncan as Tigers’ coach.

“This game is the biggest district game of the year, no question,” he said. “You win you’re the runner-up. That speaks volumes.

“It’s a great situation to be in when you control your own destiny.”

The Tigers have been in control for four weeks since falling to soon-to-be district champion Lawton MacArthur in week 4, whipping their opponents by an average score of 47-12. What’s impressive about the Tigers is that they’ve won the games they were supposed to, going 4-0 against Northwest Classen, Durant, Capitol Hill and Chickasha.

Last week, Ardmore throttled Chickasha 55-28 with the ground game as the focal point. Senior Andra Brown ran for 242 yards — his highest total since week 1 against Ada — and four TDs, as the Tigers only needed to throw five times.

“The intent is always to be balanced, but were certainly going to do what’s working, too,” McBroom said of the running game’s success last week. “We’re not afraid to do it again.”

This week, the gameplan might be a little different against a Duncan team with formidable size on both lines, led by Division I prospects Dylan Dismuke (6-foot-6, 290 pounds) and Dylan Laurens (6-4, 288). Dismuke is an Oklahoma verbal commitment, rated as the No. 56 offensive tackle in the nation by, but Ardmore coaches said Laurens may be the better player in terms of technique. According to Duncan coach Jim Holloway, Larkins, a right guard, has received interest from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Tulsa and offers from Wyoming, Louisiana-Monroe, North Texas and Colorado State.

“They have big linemen that move pretty well,” McBroom said. “They have good size up front and an experienced quarterback (Brandon Wilson).

One key player that has been missing for Duncan is blue-chip outside linebacker Dominique Petties. The 6-foot, 210-pounder, who has offers from several Big 12 schools including Oklahoma, was ruled ineligible by the OSSAA, which hasn’t affected the Demons’ playoff status since Petties didn’t play in district games.

Duncan was forced to forfeit a non-district win against Noble in which Petties played, making the Demons 0-3 outside of 5A-2. The Demons have non-district losses to Guthrie (25-0) and Carl Albert (42-10).

“Any time you take one of your best out you’re gonna miss him,” Holloway said Tuesday. “But we’ve gotta go with the guys that are eligible for us.”

Holloway said with Petties out the Demons have suffered more on defense than on offense. Petties is also a running back, but the Demons trot out a strong tandem of Jordan Laskey and Payton Atchley. Laskey and Atchley ran for a combined 177 yards and a touchdown in Duncan’s 26-7 win over Ardmore in week 2 last season.

But the Tigers are coming off of one of their best run-stopping performances of the year, limiting Chickasha to 14 yards rushing.

Holloway said he expected both teams to “lay it on the line” tonight. Ardmore senior Levonté Douglas expects the same.

“Since I’ve been in high school we’ve always played away (in the playoffs),” Douglas said of what’s at stake tonight. “It’s a nice opportunity to play at home.

“We haven’t been playing for second in a long time.”

Erik K. Horne


Duncan at Ardmore

  7:30 tonight at Noble Stadium
  Records: Duncan 5-3, 4-1 District 5A-2; Ardmore 5-3, 4-1
  AP rankings: None
  Radio: KICM-FM 97.7