Defensive domination and offensive efficiency were just the recipe for the Durant Lions Friday night, picking up their first victory of the season with a 35-0 Homecoming blanking of Tulsa East Central at Paul Laird Field.
The Lion defense allowed just one first down and 18 yards of total offense to a Cardinal offensive attack that was stymied throughout the contest. They had mustered just four total yards through three quarters of the contest.
Efficiency was both in the passing game and on the ground as Durant controlled the ball for almost 38 of the game’s 48 minutes.
“We played well,” head coach Ray Richards said afterward. “Our big concern was to not give up the big play because they had some guys that could really go. We knew if they got out in the open we wouldn’t catch them. They broke one that got called back which they kind of tricked us on, but other than that it was a really good job by those guys containing things.
“It was a great night all the way around. Our kids are continuing to get better every day and getting better every week. I know our record is just 1-5 but they have continued to work hard and I’m glad they were able to reap the harvest of that hard work tonight.”
Things nearly got off to an ominous start when East Central’s Keith Smith broke free down the sidelines on the game’s opening kickoff but new Lion kicker Daniel Long slowed him down enough for pursuit to catch up.
Durant’s defense immediately set the tone, allowing just three yards on four plays as the Cardinals turned the ball over on downs.
The Lion offense responded with an eight-play, 63-yard march that was highlighted by a 29-yard completion from Cade Buchanan to Brandon Davis. Matt Gillis bolted into the end zone from nine yards out to put the hosts in front 7-0 following Long’s extra point.
It was nearly the same scripted on the next series with the Cardinals punting it back after three plays netted only four yards.
Durant didn’t take long to strike that time when Buchanan hit Davis behind the East Central secondary for a 60-yard touchdown pass.
They kept the foot on the throttle with Brandon Fox recovering an ensuing on-side kick.
That brought on the debut of freshman Isaiah Addis to spell Gillis and the varsity newcomer had several nice runs before Buchanan once again hooked up with Davis for 38 yards. Gillis scored one play later on a one-yard run to put the Lions up 21-0 before the first stanza had even expired.
The second quarter was a defensive slugfest until DHS finally got a lift with a Cardinal personal foul that kept the march alive. The hosts capped the 41-yard scoring drive with Buchanan’s five-yard burst for paydirt and a 28-0 halftime edge.
Two Durant time-consuming drives ate up most of the third quarter, the final of which covered 79 yards in eight plays, finishing with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Buchanan to Charles Almos.
The Lion defense continued to dominate for the short amount of time it was on the field as Durant amassed 70 offensive snaps to just 26 for the Cardinals.
“Our offensive line has gotten better and we were very efficient tonight,” Richards added. “Cade did a nice job of completing passes and using hard counts to get them to jump off sides several times. I was really proud of our offense. They did a phenomenal job.
“It’s also really nice to have a couple of different guys that can run the ball effectively. Addis came in and showed some good things spelling Gillis. If he can do that it gives us the luxury of keeping Reinecker fresh for defense.”
In total, Durant mounted 381 yards of total offense, including 142 on the ground. Buchanan also had his most productive night of the season throwing the football, completing 19 of 24 passes for a season-high 239 yards and two touchdowns.
Davis also had his best game of the year, snagging a team-high four passes for 136 yards. Almos added two catches for 45.
On the ground Gillis also eclipsed the 100-yard mark with a tidy 21 carries for 105 yards. Addis also toted the ball 17 times with several solid runs along the way. He ended with 39 yards.
Although it was the first win of the season, it does move the Lions to 1-2 in District 5A-3, which could be a wide open race down the stretch.
Coweta took control of the league race Friday with a 28-21 win over Shawnee, which fell to 2-1 along with Noble, which toppled previously unbeaten Glenpool, 28-6.
Next week’s opponent McAlester remained winless with a 17-6 loss to Tulsa Edison, which is also 2-1.
“We go beat McAlester next week and we are right in the thick of things at 2-2,” Richards commented. “That’s our main goal right now.”
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or email@example.com