At the end of the day, a win is a win.
And even though the Brown Stadium scoreboard read only single digits at the end of Friday’s football game between Davis High and Woodland, it displayed a 7-0 victory for the Blue Devils.
“We’ve got a lot of mistakes to clean up,” DHS senior linebacker Brendan MacDonald said after his team improved to 4-1 on the season. “Woodland came out and showed us where are weaknesses are, and I think they did a good job. They were a tough team.
“So we gotta come out during the bye week — we have an extra week to do it — and we gotta go to work, clean up all of our mistakes.”
Both defenses were as good as advertised in the matchup. The Wolves (1-4) locked down the Devils’ potent duo of running backs — Winfred Roberson and Talek Deary — holding them to 56 yards on 27 carries, though Roberson did find pay dirt for the game’s lone TD.
The Davis defense, on the other hand, held Woodland quarterback Dillon Milton to just 31 percent passing on its way to posting its third shutout of the season.
“(The players) were flying around, they’re confident,” said Blue Devil defensive coordinator Ty Brown. “We talk about FPS — fast, physical, smart — and we saw that (Friday). It was a tough game. We needed this going into league play, trying to test ourselves and see where our mental capability was at and we showed up (Friday).”
The local secondary especially showed up in a big way on Friday. The Wolves drove into the red zone on their opening drive, but DHS free safety Bailey Yarrow picked off an underthrown pass at the 1-yard line to kill off the scoring threat.
When WHS reached the red zone again on its next drive, Devil cornerback Joey Dossa played a slant route to perfection on fourth and goal, forcing the receiver to drop the ball.
According to Brown, much of Davis’ defensive success came from dominating the trenches:
“The D-line controlled the run game inside, and that was a huge part of us … getting those interceptions, and playing fast on the pitches and the speed options. But that (was) predicated on (the D-line) controlling and being the most physical bunch on the field.”
In the second quarter, that defensive line put pressure on Milton, and the senior signal-caller made a mistake. Safety Nate Curtis picked off the pass and returned it to the Wolves’ 42.
As per usual, the Blue Devils rode Roberson to get them into the red zone. But after Deary was wrapped up behind the line of scrimmage for a 9-yard loss, the DHS offense had to find a way to convert on fourth-and-20 from the 24.
And they did as Yarrow caught a short pass from quarterback Quinten Jones, and did the rest of the work himself, bobbing and weaving his way through the WHS defense to gain an improbable 22 yards.
A face mask penalty at the end of that play set the Devils up at the 1-yard line and Roberson punched it in. Ian McKallip’s extra point gave DHS a 7-0 lead, and though those would be the game’s only points, the matchup was not absent action, especially in the waning moments.
After the local defense forced a turnover on downs with 3:02 remaining, the game seemed to be over, especially with Woodland having only one timeout left.
However, on first down, Roberson took a handoff and a Wolves defensive lineman managed to punch the ball out. The fumble recovery gave WHS the ball on its own 47-yard line.
With time running down, the Wolves managed to convert a fourth-and-10, but the Blue Devil defense locked in, forcing Woodland back into a fourth-and-long situation.
Milton lofted a pass up, and it fell incomplete as the clock read 0:00, but the sideline referee threw up a flag, indicating pass interference. The penalty, however, turned out to be on Woodland receiver Devin Jones, which ended the game.
“We’ve got a lot of grit, and we’ve got a lot of heart, and that’s what (the players) showed,” said Davis head coach Marc Hicks. “Both offense and defense kind of sputtered (Friday), and I don’t know if it was too much hype, or if (Woodland was) really hyped up. I don’t know. All I know is that they stuck together, they didn’t argue amongst themselves, they stayed together as one and they got the job done.”
Notes: In Wally Perez’s return from injury, the Devil junior linebacker recorded four tackles and recovered a fumble. He did not see a carry as a running back. … DHS sophomore defensive lineman Jonah Williams recorded another sack Friday, raising his season total to four.
— Reach Thomas Oide at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterThomas