When the Duncan Demons scheduled the Altus Bulldogs for their homecoming game, chances are they thought they had a solid shot at beating them or at the least competing for a strong and memorable game.
But Altus completely controlled the game on both ends and won the game by a score of 33-9.
The Bulldogs forced Duncan to punt frequently, until a late-game field goal gave the Demons their first points of the game with 8:39 left on the clock in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs made a statement.
“It felt pretty good to win this, we wanted to prove a point,” quarterback Jake Vargas said. “We came out here and we wanted to win big. And they scheduled us on homecoming, so we felt a little disrespected and we wanted to make a statement.”
The Bulldogs controlled the ball early, received the kickoff and rushed three consecutive times for huge gains — capped with a 38-yard touchdown run from Sha’Quan French.
This disbelief could be heard from the Duncan sideline.
The Bulldogs rushing attack has been strong for a number of years, and it was solid once again Friday night. But perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Bulldogs game came with the arm of Vargas.
Vargas has spent the majority of the season doing what is necessary to help his team win, being patient and waiting for plays to develop. He used what few opportunities available to throw the ball when needed.
He lit up the sky night Friday.
Vargas tested the Demons’ secondary in the first quarter and found his stride when his receivers got open.
He dialed Tayon Batiste’s number and hit him for a 39-yard touchdown pass with 8:30 left to play in the first half.
It was Vargas’ first passing touchdown of the season, and with the two-point conversion, it put the Bulldogs up 14-0.
“We practiced passing a little bit more in practice this week and they told us we were going to pass a little more,” Vargas said. “Once I got comfortable with it, we were running a slant and getting it inside and Tayon is just a great receiver who went out and grabbed the ball.”
In fact, it was one of two touchdown receptions on the night for Batiste who also reeled in a 13-yarder at the end of the third quarter.
Vargas also found French at the two-yard line, who pulled the catch down and stepped into the end zone.
Suddenly, a quarterback who had not thrown a touchdown in the previous four games now had three against the Demons and more than 70 yards on the ground.
But the Bulldog attack was based on the Deacon defense.
“Our offense is predicated on what the defense gives us and they just gave us this,” Coach Todd Vargas said. “They weren’t going to cover our slots, so we had to pass it there. They had a smaller guy on Tayon, and Tayon is a weapon that we know we can use, and to be honest, we planned on it. We talked about it all week, about trying to use him and some of these weapons, and he got some great opportunities to make some great catches and it was just really good success.”
“I thought offense and defense — we played great,” he said. “Our problem is penalties. It has been a theme and we’ve got to clean it up. Our guys know it and we’ve got to continue to get cleaner. If we get cleaner, we can be pretty dangerous.”
Altus spread the ball around all night. Vargas handed off to seven different running backs and found multiple ways to make Duncan’s defense pay throughout the game.
Tito Jones had three rushes of 19 yards or more and added a 19-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left in the first half. Gerrelle Bluefer had a 50-yard run, French a 38-yard touchdown run and Daniel Riley had a 27-yard run.
Repeatedly, Noah Villarreal broke down the defense, wearing them down and paving the way for the big runs his teammates pulled off. He may not have had a lot of yards on the night, but his presence was felt.
Now the Bulldogs are 5-0 overall and 2-0 in district play. They return to “The Rock” on Oct. 7 to battle a tough Ardmore Tigers team.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.