Tigers make 1st road trip to battle Duncan

Beau Bearden

Many squads across Oklahoma are preparing for the sixth game of the 2020 season, but the Ardmore High School football team is in a different situation due to COVID-19.

The Tigers haven’t played three contests due to the virus, but that hasn’t changed their focus as they prepare for a road trip to Duncan at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9.

“We’re going into Week 6 and we’ve only played two games,” said Ardmore head coach Josh Newby. “It’s just been a weird year. Hopefully we get this game in, we play well, and continue to climb the ladder and get better every week.”

However, there is some serious unknown in District 5A-1 as Altus and Capitol Hill haven’t played a district contest. And issues have struck again as Capitol Hill doesn’t have enough athletes to play this week against El Reno, who is the lone 2-0 team in the district.

But that is out of the Tigers’ hands, as there is a bigger task at hand — the first road trip of the season.

“I was very impressed (with Duncan), they went on the road and beat Noble 21-18,” Newby said. “Their offense really executed well. Their quarterback and running back performed at a very high level. We've got our hands full. We’re going to have to go to Duncan, Oklahoma and play well.”

Ardmore should be in pretty good shape though.

The Tigers (2-0 overall, 1-0 District 5A-1) have the advantage of spending the past two weeks preparing for one opponent, while Duncan (1-2, 1-0) has half that time to game plan.

“I thought we had a really good week of practice last week, even though we didn’t have an opponent,” Newby said. “I thought the kids handled it really well. This week though, you can feel the energy in the air with an actual opponent.”

And that liveliness should help Ardmore come out firing on all cylinders on offense, especially after quarterback Cal Swanson passed for 102 yards and three touchdowns in a big win over Southeast on Sept. 25.

The sophomore was making just his second start and he’s expected to take more strides in the right direction.

“(Cal) was very efficient and accurate in the last game,” Newby said. “He’s continued to be that in practice and we’re excited about his future.”

It’s not all Swanson though, as the Tigers have used a strong rushing attack. Antone Scallion, Donald May and Khaleel McGee combined to run the ball for 239 yards and four touchdowns against Southeast.

However, there is some uncertainly looming as Ardmore is scheduled to host Capitol Hill in two weeks, but there’s no guarantee the Redwolves have enough players.

But that is in future and the Tigers can’t look that far ahead.

“We’ll handle it as it comes,” Newby said. “That’s what I’ve been impressed with — the kids appreciate playing and they know it can be stripped away from you at any second. It’s been a fun group to work with because they know they better appreciate it when they get a chance.”