The Dodge City Red Demons football team fell in their season-opener Friday night, losing 21 to 15 to the Wichita West Pioneers in Wichita.
Rain saturated the field as the game started, lasting until the last drive of the half, and both offenses struggled both catching, kicking and carrying the ball. On second Red Demons’ drive, the Demons missed a field-goal low.
On the very next drive, the Pioneers recovered their own fumble but later missed their own field-goal.
Red Demons’ head coach Dave Foster said it wasn’t a pretty game from his perspective.
“I thought it looked sloppy, I thought we were very unproductive offensively and then the two field-goals we attempted were bad, and we expect more out of that unit and more consistency,” Foster said. “It’s kind of baffling.”
Wichita junior quarterback Zion Parks led a multi-pronged running game that included junior running back Shakur Johnson and junior running back Xavier Sellers. Between the three, they Pioneers ran right through a defensive line Foster expected more out of.
“We got beat in the box, which we didn’t think we would get beat in the box, and we tried a lot of different personnel,” Foster said.
Red Demons senior quarterback Dawson Williams struggled. On the first play of the team’s fourth drive, and trailing 7-0, Williams overthrew his receiver on his right. The pass was picked off by Pioneers senior free-safety Alante French and returned to put the Pioneers up 14-0.
Foster said his team is already looking at some of the film to see what happened.
“We saw replays on the sideline and we had some kids that came back and we thought would play at a higher level, and really didn’t,” Foster said. “So we’ve got to figure some of that out and figure out who’s going to play on Friday night.”
In the second-half Foster put in sophomore quarterback Beau Foster, who was able to help the offense, eventually throwing a touchdown to bring the score to 14-7 by the end of the third quarter.
“He brings a different side (to the offense),” Foster said. “What Dawson does, Dawson does great, but he has to be dependent on the guys up front opening creases up, and when that wasn’t happening we know (putting in Foster is) our answer. We’ll evaluate the film. I thought Beau did a great job getting us points on the board, getting the ball to playmakers and that’s the element that he brings. He’s not as strong of a runner as Dawson, and we know that, but he’s more two-dimensional.”
Despite the loss Friday night, the team could show significant improvement by next week. The Red Demons play their home-opener Friday against Wichita Southeast.
“Our biggest improvement every year as (I’ve been) a head coach is between weeks one and two,” Foster said. “Kids see it on film where they’re giving subpar effort or technique.”
Next week’s game will also include Dodge City’s Ring Of Honor Inductions, a ceremony Foster said he enjoys.
“It’s neat because the history and tradition of Dodge City as a high school and the football program is enormous, it’s one of the biggest in the state,” Foster said. “When we bring those people in, it’s great for our kids to see traditions and the people that build that community.”