WICHITA FALLS — Heading into play Friday night at Memorial Stadium, the Denton Broncos were faced with several opportunities.
With the Broncos winless in District 5-4A play through two games, they had a chance to climb out of the cellar of the district with a win over Wichita Falls, who was also 0-2.
Denton also had a chance to quiet the naysayers who tagged the Broncos as the same, soft 1-9 team from a season ago.
What transpired illuminated hope for the Broncos and squashed the spirit of the Coyotes as Denton rallied from a first-half deficit to claim its first district win with a 28-19 victory, moving them to 3-3 on the season.
“It’s something we can build on,” Denton head coach Kevin Atkinson said. “It’s our first district win and we’re 3-3. It’s really exciting we’re at that point and we have an opportunity to move forward with that against [Fort Worth] Brewer. We have to be committed to keep growing. We can’t be satisfied, and we have to stay hungry.”
The Broncos put together their most well-rounded victory of the season as the defense came up with big plays in the second half coupled with a supreme ball security and their most impressive rushing performance this season.
Despite being outgained 170-111 on the ground, the Broncos’ running backs consistently put themselves in manageable third-down situations while setting up the screen-game that Atkinson has instilled in the offense.
Down 13-8 after the first half, Denton delivered a momentum-shifting drive to start the second half, something the Broncos have struggled to find success in their first five games of the season.
The Coyotes (2-4) attempted an onside kick to start the second half that was recovered by Denton. The Broncos needed only four plays before junior quarterback Cy Ward found junior wide receiver Adarian Harris in the right-corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown to give the Broncos a 15-13 lead.
“I told them the first drive was really big, and we needed to start it off on a positive note to secure the game,” Atkinson said. “I was glad we didn’t turn the ball over in the second half, and I was happy with our defense holding the rope for us all game long.”
After taking the lead, the Broncos produced a 13-play, 90-yard drive that was finished off with a 2-yard touchdown run by junior running back Deavonte Doucet to give them a 21-13 lead with 10:26 remaining in the game.
Then came the biggest defensive play of the season for the Broncos as senior linebacker Charles Boosa made a tackle on Wichita Falls’ OJ Clark that resulted in a fumble and a 55-yard return by Boosa to give the Broncos a 28-13 lead.
“I felt the momentum shift and I just wanted to help the team get going,” Boosa said. “I turned around to see where he was at. I saw the ball coming right towards me and I was gone. The team was excited, and I was glad I could get the team going.”
The Broncos came into the game looking for a better start and it was their defense that was able to hold the Coyotes to two three-and-outs in their first two possessions.
After the Broncos squandered their first drive, they were able to get their running game going as it took them only four plays before sophomore Tre’Von Jackson busted an outside sweep to the right for a 25-yard touchdown with 4:52 remaining in the first quarter. The Broncos took an 8-0 lead after a successful 2-point conversion pass from Michael Husbands to Ryan Duggan.
“We want to run the football, and when you can run the football, everything works,” Atkinson said. “Doucet did a great job lead-blocking. On that first touchdown run, he had an ‘RBI.’ That’s what I call it when they have a touchdown-making block. He had a huge block on the edge that cut down that outside backer. That was really good to see.”
On the Coyotes’ ensuing possession, the Broncos were in the right place at the right time as senior defensive back Tyler Villegas intercepted quarterback DeShaun Young’s pass at the Coyotes’ 48-yard line. However, the Broncos were stopped at the 36-yard line, and Husbands’ 48-yard field-goal attempt fell short.
After another three-and-out by the Wichita Falls offense, senior quarterback Luke Satterfield was given a series to run the offense. After picking up two first downs, Satterfield was flushed from the pocket before eventually fumbling and Denton recovering for a 32-yard loss. With the Broncos backed up, a poor snap sailed over Satterfield’s head and into the end zone, where Wichita Falls linebacker Will Patrick recovered it for a touchdown.
After Denton was forced to punt, the Coyotes, from their 28-yard line, exploited Denton’s run defense and mixed in a few big pass plays. Eventually, sophomore running back Robert Williams took the inside handoff from Young for a 4-yard touchdown. The 2-point try failed, but the Coyotes held all the momentum up 13-8 with 5:10 remaining in the half.
“Honestly, I think our kids kind of thought, ‘oh, we’ve got this,’” Atkinson said. “Then, we were careless with the football and we lost our focus. When that happens, we end up turning it over and not doing what we’re supposed to.”
The Broncos looked to recapture the momentum with an extended drive from their own 25-yard line down to the Wichita Falls 10-yard line. Unfortunately, with 31 seconds left in the half, Ward threw a lofty pass into double-coverage and was picked off by sophomore defensive back OJ Clark to end the threat.
The Coyotes almost made it a game with 2:43 remaining as they scored to make it 28-19, but their ensuing onside attempt was recovered by the Broncos, who were able to hold on.
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is email@example.com .
Denton 28, Wichita Falls 19
D — Tre’Von Jackson 25 rush (Michael Husbands pass to Ryan Duggan) 4:52
WF — Will Patrick 55 fumble recovery (Chance McWhorter kick) 9:38
WF — Robert Williams 4 rush (Failed Conversion) 5:10
D — Adarian Harris 16 pass from Ward (Husbands kick) 10:02
D — Deavonte Doucet 2 rush (Failed Conversion) 10:26
D — Charles Boosa 55-yard fumble return (Husbands kick) 7:04
WF — OJ Clark 12 pass from DeShaun Young (Failed Conversion) 2:43
Rushing — WF: DeShaun Young 19-112, Robert Williams 17-56, Mikal Penn 1-2; D: Deavonte Doucet 13-39, Cy Ward 7-13, Tre’Von Jackson 10-86, Wendell Williams 1-(-3), Luke Satterfield 1-(-32), Ryan Daniels 1-23.
Passing — WF: DeShaun Young 12-22-2 111; D: Cy Ward 14-22-1 146, Luke Satterfield 1-2-0 1.
Receiving — WF: OJ Clark 5-15, Mikal Penn 2-28, Robert Williams 2-28, Adam Stowe 1-6, Hayden Russell 1-17, Dwight Ross 1-17; D: Ryan Daniels 2-3, Ke’Von Buris 3-48, Adarian Harris 2-37, Deavonte Doucet 2-13, Deandre Coleman 3-32, Wendell Williams 3-14.