Eagles to face rival Carl Albert in Class 5A state championship
By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
NOBLE – It’s been 47 years since Del City won its only football state championship.
On Saturday, the Eagles will be playing for their second state title.
Del City advanced to the Class 5A state championship Friday with a 34-13 win over Claremore at Noble High School.
They will face rival Carl Albert in an all-Mid-Del championship game at 1 p.m. Saturday at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Chad Richison Stadium. The Titans beat Bishop McGuinness 51-28 Friday night in the other semifinal.
Del City (13-0) set the tone early with 21 points in the first quarter and big hits on defense.
“We wanted to set the tempo and we came out and hit them in the mouth first,” said senior Ladanian Fields who caught three touchdowns in the win.
The Eagles racked up 424 yards of total offense, while holding Claremore (12-2) to 194 yards. The defense racked up four sacks and one forced fumble.
Quarterback River Warren threw for 246 yards and three scores. Ladanian Fields was on the receiving end of all three scores as he finished with 10 catches for 196 yards and three touchdowns.
“When we saw them playing man against Ladanian Fields we knew right away it was going to be an issue,” said Del City coach Robert Jones. “He’s the best in the state and it showed.”
Senior running back Rodney Fields ran for 111 yards and one touchdown. Braelon Adamah had 52 yards rushing and one score.
The Eagles struck first with a 58-yard scoring drive to start the game, despite numerous penalties. Warren hit Ladanian Fields down the seam for a 30-yard touchdown.
Del City went back to the same play again on the next drive. Ladanian Fields beat man coverage down field and caught a deep ball from Warren, making it a 14-0 lead with 5:11 left in the first.
“We want to get on top of people fast and smother them with great play on defense,” Jones said. “That’s been our motto all year. When you have playmakers, it happens naturally.”
Claremore struggled to get their offense moving against the Eagles tough front. On third down, quarterback Braxton Ethridge was drilled by Rickland Holmes on a blitz. Ethridge stayed on the ground for a few minutes before being helped off the field. He shook off the big hit and stayed in the rest of the game.
“We came out and established our dominance and showed what we can do the rest of the game,” Holmes said. “Our front seven did a great job. I think we let off the gas a bit but we need to keep going.”
The Eagles soon found the end zone for a third time in the quarter. On fourth down, Adamah hurdled a defender and bounced off another as he scored on a 35-yard run.
Claremore answered with a lengthy scoring drive that carried over to the second quarter. On fourth-and-one from the Eagle 5, Tyson Grimett scored on a handoff up the middle. That made it a 21-7 score.
Rodney Fields scored a 19-yard touchdown, making it a 27-7 score at halftime.
After a scoreless third, the Eagles found the end zone once in the fourth. Warren connected with Ladanian Fields for a third touchdown. That put Del City up 34-7 with 10:20 remaining.
Claremore scored on the final play of the game. Ethridge hit Gage Deckard as time expired.
Del City will look to hand the Titans their first loss of the season when they meet in the 5A finals. In their last meeting, Carl Albert beat Del City in the state quarterfinals in 2022.