By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
EDMOND – Del City’s football team developed a winning formula this season.
They built early leads, protected the football, and played suffocating defense. The result was a trip to the state championship for the first time since 1976.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, that plan didn’t work against rival Carl Albert on Saturday in the Class 5A state finals at Chad Richison Stadium.
The Titans’ experience and running game were too much to overcome.
Carl Albert (14-0) beat Del City 35-14 for their second straight title and number 18 overall.
“We didn’t get the start that we wanted, and we turned the ball over too much,” said Del City coach Robert Jones. “I think for the first time all year, the moment got to our guys a little bit. That’s part of the learning process as we continue to progress forward. I’m proud of our guys for fighting their butts off and proud of them for being in this moment. They have a lot to hang their hats on.”
The Eagles (12-1) had three takeaways but struggled to stop the run. Xavier Robinson ran for 133 yards with two touchdowns on 22 carries, along with one receiving touchdown. The Titans finished with 292 yards on the ground.
“For us to come out and force three turnovers that’s something to be proud of,” Jones said. “Our guys came out and fought their tails off. Carl Albert is a great team. They’re even better in person than I thought.”
The Titans have had several slow starts this year and weren’t at their best early. They fumbled on their first possession but took the lead on their second. Kevin Sperry found Robinson for a 39-yard touchdown pass with 4:07 in the first.
Del City answered on its next possession. On fourth-and-four from the Carl Albert 25, Rodney Fields scored on a pass from River Warren, tying the score at 7-7.
Carl Albert soon regained the lead off a takeaway. Brock Johnson sacked Warren and forced the ball loose with AJ Mason recovering it. On the next play, Sperry hit Marucs James in the middle of the field for a 26-yard touchdown play and 14-7 lead.
The Titans found the end zone once more before halftime. After forcing a punt, the Titans went 84 yards in nine plays. Sperry capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run.
Carl Albert led 21-7 at halftime.
Both teams struggled to hold onto the ball in the third quarter. Ladanian Fields intercepted Sperry on the first drive of the quarter, but the Titans took it back when Trynae Washington picked off Warren in the end zone.
The Eagles soon got the ball back when Ladanian Fields again stepped in front of a pass from Sperry near midfield. Braelon Adamah later caught a pass from Warren for a 31-yard touchdown play, cutting the deficit to 21-14 with 4:43 in the third.
Carl Albert used its ground game to seal the win. Xavier Robinson ran for two scores in the fourth quarter. The final one was a 65-yard run that included several broken tackles.
Warren drove the Eagles to the red zone but threw an interception to Washington. The Titans ran out the clock in the final five minutes.
Warren was 13 of 29 passing for 204 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“This was a good season, but we can’t turn the ball over like that and I can’t have two interceptions,” he said. “I need to be better.”
Ladanian Fields led the team in receiving with four catches for 101 yards.
Rodney Fields had three catches for 49 yards and one score, while also running for 75 yards.
Jones was disappointed in the loss but expressed pride in his team’s accomplishments and a desire to get better.
“Hopefully the kids coming back next year can get back to this moment,” he said. “They’ll be more used to it and can make the plays.”
OUR GUYs have been in this game and we really wanted to rely on that tradition. These seniors have been in it 3 of the 4 so that was something we talked about throughuto the week. That’s something we wanted to establish.
He’s built for these games he’s done it for 3 years for us. He’s a stud and he’s going to do at the next level as well.
Overtocme. We talke about overcoming adversity.
Probably best crowd that I’ve seen in mid-del since grouwing up in mwc. I thought both teams played really well and they were coaceh up. They made some adjaustments. That’s exacltyw aht we expect coaching staff. Kids fought to the end on both side.s
Extremely proudn of dle city and carl albert.
DEL CITY START
Tha’ts what we pride ourselves in mid-del athletic that you’re going to face adversity. The whole district faced more adversity this year that most will face in their lives.
Coach jones to be albe to rally those guys and make sure they fought and get back up and really make to state championship. That’s story in istels.
I’m excmtley proud of those kids. And coaches.
Life lesson. These kids are going to graduate, they’re igong to move on and they’re going to go through things like adults do. What they were taougth this year and hwo to get back up is going to go with them a long time. They’re going to be really good husbands and really good fathers becuasde of it.
They’re a gotught eam.
All year we have started fast. Not a good start. Not the start we wante.d we turned ball over. When it was 14-7 we re in the game if not have turnover. We come out second half and tied it up.
Can’t turn ball over and need start faster.
Think kids for the firt time all year let the moment get to them a little bit. That’s learning process as continue progress forward. Proud they fought butts. Proud to be in this moment. Lot to hang their hats on.
We’ve been playing like that all year.
Those guys have 4 guys commtied to OU. Seomtime not 4 in the state.
Come and force three turnovers that’s something proud of. Continue to add onto tradition. They came out and forught tails off. That’s great team. Even better in person than I thought.
A little passs rush and a little eour kids maybe nevrour and making mistaeks not made all year. In this atompher and envormetn it’s going to happen. Hpuelfly the kids coming back next year if we get back in this moment. They can get used ot it. Then they can make plays.
W’er egoing to have to get int hese moments and captilize. If not this is where en dup.
Not playce to hang hats on but it’s a liearnign experience for future.
I’ve said ew’re only team in nation to go through a shooting incident like that and be able to recover and give ba. Be in this game. Just to be in I this game shows the heart and drive of these young ment. It taught them a lot about ovdercomign adversity. I thope they can use this in life as they become fathers and husbmas.
To overcome adversity you can direct your future. It’s all about your effort and attitude.
We’re such tight knit group and they have such strong character not surprised me honestly.
How we brought the community together surprised me. You talk about it but to see it is another thing.
LEADER IN IT?
EVERYOne teoghter. They just meshed together. Knowing this was going to give del city the image that they needed. Think we accomplished it.
People arne’t tlakb bout the vicolenc that happened. They’re atching us play for a state championship.
Good season but can’t turn the ball over. Can’t have 2 interceptions. Nee to be better.
If not throw that one itnerpce probay 21-21 and antyg can happen.
They were bring pressure every stnapp. They we re tryin to fluster m. I know it was going to be a tough game coming in.
COUPLE TO AND THEN SCORE?
I was very confident after that point. You just can’t have that one. Get turnover and give right back.
I’m so prouf of these guys and how they fought adversity. Beginning season tragey happened and we just kept going and played for each other.