Special to The Sun
Deer Creek didn’t score in its opening quarter of 2013 football, but after trailing 3-0 at Piedmont, the Antlers scored five unanswered touchdowns en route to a 35-3 victory.
“I was pleased. We had some first game jitters — if you will — because we had a lot of new guys stepping in,” Deer Creek head football coach Grant Gower said. “I like the way our guys held together and stayed together as a family and as a unit. I’m really pleased with what we got accomplished tonight.”
The Wildcats broke the scoring open on a 32-yard field goal by placekicker Butch Hamilton with only 1:13 remaining in the first quarter.
While the Deer Creek defense proved stout from the opening kickoff, the offense finally got rolling in the second quarter.
Deer Creek quarterback Caden Sander tossed a 34-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Wilton, setting up a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. The Antlers’ first points of the game came at the 5:49 mark of the second quarter when running back Marcus Coleman capped a six-play drive by punching in a touchdown from inside the 1.
It may have taken over 18 minutes for Deer Creek to finally put some points on the board, but it took less than two minutes for the road team to strike again.
A quick Piedmont three-and-out, highlighted by an Eli Hooks sack, set up a Deer Creek possession be at the Wildcat 48-yard line. Coleman then carried the ball on four consecutive play calls for12, five, 21 and 10 yards respectively, winding up in the end zone. The Antlers took a 14-3 advantage going into the locker room.
Running back Alec James drew oohs and aahs from fans of both teams when he leaped a would-be tackler on a nice scamper down the left side of the field. Two plays later, on a third down and short, Sander found wide receiver Jackson Smith for a 50-yard touchdown bomb to go up 21-3.
The Deer Creek scoring barrage continued on a 16-yard Sander strike to Noah McGraw with 8:01 left in the third that was set up by a John Keeth fumble recovery just two plays earlier. The Antlers scored their final touchdown of the game on another Sander connection to McGraw, this time an 11yarder.
Sander finished with 230 passing yards along with a team-leading 61 rushing yards. Coleman added 59 rushing yards and James chipped in 35 yards. Deer Creek’s leading receiver was Smith, who had 74 yards in the win.
Next up for Deer Creek is another road trip as they face Shawnee next Friday night. Gower expects a difficult battle.
“Shawnee’s a good football team,” he said. “They bring a lot of guys back. They’re gonna be a really tough one next week.”