By Jeff Harrison
Del City had chances to knock off rival Carl Albert last Friday night.
But could not quite make it happen.
The Titans grabbed the lead in the fourth quarter and held back the Eagles in the red zone for the 21-14 win at the newly renovated Robert Kalsu Stadium.
After falling behind late in the fourth quarter, the Eagles quickly marched down field. Jahkobie Smith reeled off a 53-yard run and later hit Ja’kheo Mitchell for a first-and-goal from the Titan 9.
On first down, Smith raced up the middle and was brought down at the Titan 7. The Eagles tried to throw on the final three downs but couldn’t crack the secondary.
“When we get it there, we need to find a way to get in the end zone,” said coach Mike Dunn. “We talked about it all week how this was going to be a four-quarter dog fight. We planned for it and unfortunately we came up short.”
Del City outgained Carl Albert 365 to 280 in total yards. The Eagles racked up 294 yards on the ground with quarterback Jahkobie Smith and running back LJ Brown both topping the 100-yard mark.
Carl Albert (2-0) reclaims the Mid-Del championship for the third year in a row. They beat Midwest City 41-26 in the season opener.
Del City (0-2) will finish their non-district slate Friday night at Bishop McGuinness.
The Titans took control early as they opened the game with an 80-yard scoring drive. Quarterback Ben Harris led them down field with help of a few big throws to Cobe Crews. He wrapped up the drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Gavin Haines in the corner of the end zone. Jacob Eddy’s extra point made it a 7-0 score with 5:01 in the first.
Del City needed a little time to get their offense rolling. Carl Albert pinned them deep with a punt that was downed near the goal line. The poor starting field position didn’t deter the Eagles as they marched 99 yards for the score. Smith and LJ Brown did much of the work on the ground. Smith finally plunged into the end zone from 1 yard out. Stanley Johnson’s kick tied the game at 7-7 with 1:44 in the second.
The Eagles quickly got the ball back. With a defender in his face, Harris made an errant throw across the middle of the field that was picked off by Jayson Smith. But the Eagles could not capitalize on the takeaway and went three-and-out.
The teams headed to the locker room tied 7-7.
Del City started with the ball in the third quarter and didn’t miss this time. Brown put the Eagles on top 14-7 with a 25-yard run with 9:03 in the third.
Momentum continued to swing in the Eagles’ direction in the third. Their defense stopped the Titans on fourth down at the Eagle 30. And their run game continued to cruise as moved across midfield. But on the next play Virgil Yates fumbled and the Titans recovered it.
Carl Albert soon evened the score. Harris broke a 20-yard touchdown run to tie the game 14-14 with 2:56 in the third.
The Eagle defense delivered another big stop when they forced a fumble on their own three-yard line and Sevaughn Sephus recovered it.
But they couldn’t hold the Titans back again late in the fourth. Houston Russell kept the drive alive with a big catch on fourth down. Kentrell Bizzell wrapped up the drive with a 9-yard touchdown run to make it a 21-14 score with 3:33 remaining.
The Eagles put themselves in position to potentially tie or win the game in the final seconds. But Smith was stopped on a first down run. His final three passes fell incomplete as the Titans prevailed.
Smith was 6 of 15 passing for 71 yards and ran for another 161 yards and one score. Brown had 114 yards rushing and one TD on 17 attempts.