By SHAWN YORKS
The Guymon Daily Herald
TYRONE, Okla. - What a way to celebrate Homecoming.
After Cassi Courkamp and Justin Schurman were crowned Tyrone High School's Homecoming Queen and King on Friday night, the Bobcats football team set about making it a night to remember.
Tyrone overcame a brief 14-12 deficit and downed Duke, Okla. going away, 42-20 at the Tyrone Athletic Complex.
If fans thought the fast start for the Bobcats meant Duke was an easy homecoming opponent, the Tigers proved them wrong. Duke, which made a nearly 450-mile round trip for the non-district contest, erased an early 12-0 Tyrone lead, and led 14-12 mid-way through the second quarter before the Bobcats edged ahead 20-14 at the half.
"We weren't doing little things right," said Tyrone head coach Josh Bell. "We'd miss one or two blocks and it blows up the whole play."
Tyrone (3-2) held the Tigers (2-3) to a 3-and-out on the first series, and quickly drove down to score. On Tyrone's fourth offensive play, Travis Shield took a handoff from quarterback Tyler Lai and raced 24 yards for a touchdown and a 6-0 Bobcat lead.
Duke held the ball for about three minutes on its next possession before it had to punt again. But Tyrone couldn't punch it in after driving to the Tiger 18.
Then Shield struck again. After Duke went three-and-out, Shield returned the punt to the Tiger 18. Three plays later, Shield punched it in from the 3 and Tyrone led 12-0.
Then Duke was able to get its offense in gear, led by running backs Dominique Vick and Kevin Rice.
From its own 15, Duke was in the end zone in five plays, scoring on a 40-yard pass from Rice to Garrett Chambless on a halfback option.
Then, the Tiger defense forced Tyrone to give it up on downs, setting up shop on their own 31. Four plays later, Vick was in the end zone on a 35-yard run. Rice added the extra point run and Duke was up 14-12.
"We stressed the importance of making sure you read your blocks," Bell said.
Tyrone answered with 3:45 left in the first half when they took the ball at midfield when the Tigers tried an on-side kick. The 40-yard drive took five plays and about two minutes, and Cole Wall did the honors with a 13-yard run to make it 20-14.
Duke ended the half with a defensive stand, culminated by a Vick interception with 27 seconds left.
Tyrone opened the second half with a bang when Shield took the opening kickoff at the 5 yard line and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown (it's an 80-yard field in 8-man). But the play was called back thanks to a penalty.
It didn't stop Tyrone from reaching the end zone, just made it take longer, as the Bobcats drove 55 yards in nine plays, with Shield scoring from the 2 on a fourth-and-goal to make the score 26-14.
After Lai recovered a fumble at mid-field and returned it to the Duke 8, Tyrone wasn't able to get in the end zone, giving it up on downs at the 16.
Early in the fourth, Duke's Marshall Cox recovered a Tyrone fumble, and the Tigers took over at the Bobcat 28.
Six straight runs by Vick led to a 2-yard scoring dive by Rice to cut it to 26-20.
Tyrone ended the game with two touchdowns in the final 1:25 when Lai capped a 9-yard drive with a 5-yard scoring run for a 34-20 lead after Jacob Williams caught a conversion pass from Lai.
Then Wall intercepted a Duke pass and returned it down the home sideline for a score just 22 seconds later. Shield's conversion run made it 42-20.
"Duke, they're tough," Bell said. "It wasn't a 42-20 game, we all know that was because of the stuff late. They played hard, they came a long way down here and my hat's off to them.
"I'm proud of our kids, we worked the heck out of them all week."
The defense did a good job of containing Vick, Duke's star running back who came into the game with nearly 700 yards already this season.
"We knew we had to try to contain him, if you let him get to the edge, he doesn't stop running," Bell said. "He'll either run you over, or you need four or five guys to tackle him."
Vick does a good job of changing direction on a dime. If he's bottled up, he finds a way out of it.
"For the most part we did a great job of containing him," Bell said. "He got away a couple times, but I was proud of the way the kids responded, picking up the reads and just containing him.."