Coming off a 4-6 season and with a new head coach and a tough non-district schedule, many folks were unsure how good Del City football would be in 2021.
Through the first six games of the season, the Eagles have been one of the biggest surprises in Class 6A-II. They’re 5-1 on the season (3-0 in district play) and have already claimed wins over Carl Albert, Bishop McGuinness, Stillwater and Midwest City. Their lone setback was a season-opening loss to Booker T. Washington, another traditional power.
First-year head coach Robert Jones, who spent the previous four seasons as Del City’s defensive coordinator, isn’t surprised by his team’s early success.
“When I interviewed for the job, I let them know this was not a rebuilding year,” recalled Jones, who is also the school’s athletic director. “I knew we had potential.”
Leading the way for the Eagles on offense has been senior quarterback Virgil Yates. The 5-10, 185-pound senior moved from running back to quarterback before the season and has made defenses pay with his feet and his arm.
Against Midwest City, Yates accounted for three touchdowns. Versus Stillwater, he rushed for 210 yards and two scores, plus added a TD pass.
“He’s a powerful runner,” said Jones of Yates. “He has a running back mentality. He’s a real strong kid. He can take the punishment that a running quarterback gets. He also has the arm to beat you over the top.”
Since district play began, the Eagles have been even more impressive on defense. They’ve allowed only 13 points in three convincing wins over Northwest Classen, Stillwater and Midwest City. Against Stillwater, they handed the Pioneers their first district loss in four years and their first home loss since 2016 with a 30-7 pounding.
Sophomore defensive lineman David Stone is the state’s top player in the Class of 2024. The 6-5, 255-pounder draws the most attention from opposing teams, but the Eagles have several other playmakers on that side of the ball. Darius Hampton, Jaedon Foreman, Jayson Smith and Kanijal Thomas are also Division I-level athletes that have made big plays all season long.
“We’ve got a three-headed monster up front,” admitted Jones. “Any time you’ve got three collegiate-level defensive linemen and two collegiate-level linebackers, it allows you to do things.”
“Any time you’re giving up single digit points against the opponents we’ve played, that sets you up for success,” added Jones. “Our defense is allowing us to do some things and it’s just been very special to watch.”
With the top sophomore in the state and two of the top 15 juniors in Oklahoma, the future certainly appears bright for Del City football.
“This is just the start,” stated Jones. “I think Del City has the facilities and the support from the community and administration to be a very special place. I see this as a place where I can retire. We proved it on the basketball court last year (Del City won its first basketball state title in 40 years). Those are the caliber of athletes that are walking the halls here. I think we’re going to continue to get better. I’m excited about it.”
The fifth-ranked Eagles look to stay unbeaten in district play when they visit Putnam City North Thursday night in a great high school football matchup. YurView will broadcast this Ford Game of the Week live on Cox’s Channel 3 and also online.