After enduring last week’s 40-0 shellacking by Yuba City, first-year Davis High football coach Marc Hicks and his staff stressed to the players that they need to bounce back and work harder for their next game.
That next contest is a matchup at Foothill on Friday that will be a marking point for how much the Blue Devils have grown since their Aug. 30 opener.
According to Hicks, DHS has upped its intensity in recent workouts.
“I have most definitely seen a big change in the work ethic this week,” Hicks said. “(The team) put in big-time work this week. I’m very excited to see if we’ll bounce back, that is what it really comes down to. It’s like that old saying, ‘talk is cheap,’ you know. I’ve seen it and watched their resilience, and I’m impressed how they’ve come back.”
After the loss, the Devils watched game film to identify and correct mistakes, and Hicks was very pleased with results of that exercise:
“We broke down on our fundamentals. We corrected a lot of mistakes from last week already. I think the kids were receptive, I think they understand (what they did wrong). I think they were probably, not more, but as disappointed as we were when they saw the film. And hopefully that was the catalyst that boosted them to practice harder than they ever have in the last couple of weeks.”
Hicks also has watched plenty of film of Foothill. Since the Mustangs will be running a wing-T, run-oriented offense — similar to what the locals faced last week against Yuba City — coordinator Ty Brown is planning to have his guys run the same defensive scheme.
“For the defense, I’ve been stressing three things: focus, fundamentals, finish,” Brown said. “I think we’ve had a lot of focus this week, and that will be key on Friday.
“Linemen need to be aligned right, linebackers need to be aligned right, linebackers and DBs have to have their eyes in the right place. We just need to do our thing, and know what we can do.”
Most importantly, the Blue Devil defense needs to wrap up ball carriers. In Week 1, Honker running backs went on several long scoring jaunts that began when DHS missed tackles in the backfield.
At the same time, however, the Devil secondary must be wary of a Foothill air attack as quarterback David Carter and leading receiver David Entwistle are back with a year of experience under their belts.
Still, it’s the Davis offense that is licking its chops for Friday. In last week’s 40-14 loss to Oakmont, the Mustang defense gave up 507 yards and six touchdowns with a pretty much even split between passing and rushing yards.
Coming off of sub-50-yard performances against Yuba City, Blue Devil running backs Winfred Roberson and Wally Perez are hoping to put up much bigger numbers against Foothill. Quarterback Quinten Jones also plans to show off his skills, something he didn’t get much of a chance to do in the Week 1 loss.
But for Davis’ coach, a win over the Mustangs will come down to one key:
“They have to play mistake-free football,” Hicks said of his team. “Obviously, I can say that, but we all know that there are going to be some mistakes so let’s limit the number of mistakes and make sure that we are fundamentally sound. If we can do those two things I think we’ll be fine; we’ve had a great week in practice.
The former star running back at DHS in the 1980s has been coaching local football players for decades. He knows this group especially well and has confidence that they will bounce back on Friday.
“I’ve been with most of these guys since kindergarten, first grade, second grade,” Hicks said. “I’m hoping, after watching them practice this week, and knowing them for so long, that they’ll come out and play the game like I know they can.
“I’ve coached a lot of them, like I said, for a number of years, and they’re all great young human beings, great young men, great sons. I can honestly say, out of the hundreds of kids I’ve coached over the years, this’ll be the second group that I am especially close to. I know they’re all athletes, so I expect them to get out there and get after it, and do what they’ve been taught to do, which is playing football.”
Notes: Kickoff for the junior varsity game is at 5:15 p.m. at Foothill High with the varsity matchup scheduled for 7:30 p.m. … When asked about injuries, Hicks said the only two people he knew for certain would be out were C.K. Hicks and Quinn Williams, both of whom are out for the season. Key defenders Brendan MacDonald and Jonah Williams missed the second half of last week’s game with injuries but, according to Hicks, every player on the roster has participated in practice this week.
— Reach Thomas Oide at firstname.lastname@example.org