Enterprise staff writer
When Davis hosts Oakmont on Friday, fans will get their first look of the fall at Halden Field as a football venue.
While the Blue Devils played a handful of games at DHS a year ago, it was before Phase 2 of the $7 million rehab project was finished.
On Friday, hometown spectators will have new stands, there is a new press box (and coachesÕ crowÕs nest), concession stand and restroom facilities. The parking lot has been repaved and new bicycle parking should be unveiled.
Now Ñ finally Ñ a real home game for Davis High, and an opportunity for the locals to turn the corner on what has been a disappointing start to 2010.
Coming in at 1-3, the Devils have dug themselves into early holes in each of their losses Ñ only to come steaming back. In the VikingsÕ 0-4 start, there is some good news for DHS Ñ theyÕve been outscored by 72 points in the second half. As any Davis fan knows by now, the Blue Devils have been red-hot in the final 24 minutes.
In last weekÕs 31-21 setback at Colfax, for example, DHS rushed and passed for almost 400 yards after falling behind 14-0.
First-year Devil head coach Steve Smyte believes the offense is showing some good progress, but knows his defense needs to come out with some early stops Ñ especially on third down. Davis opponents have had eight uninterrupted, long drives for scores so far, and Smyte says Òwe have to do a better job on defense … and on third downs, in general.Ó
Going into this season, Davis coaches knew their team would be thin depth-wise. Avoiding injuries through a new training program was a point of focus during the summer.
However, injuries have impacted the Devils, especially on offense.
Running back Courtney Williams (ankle), tight end Peter Smith (toe) and wide receiver Dillard Brown (eardrum) have been knocked out in the last two games.
Smyte says heÕll know more about WilliamsÕ status today. He adds that Peter Smith is a game-time decision and Brown will sit at least another week.
In the interim, DHS received an outstanding fill-in performance from tailback Mike Romero (66 yards) against Colfax. On Friday, quarterback Dane Denkers and Austin Day also will see action carrying the ball, if Williams canÕt go. Smyte said Romero is a little dinged up, too, but is expected to see action.
As junior Shayne Reagan builds relationships with his wide receivers, the Blue Devil quarterback has found capable targets in Majed Eddin, Evan Arnold-Gordon and Kristian Mackewicz while Brown sits out with the injury.
Tight ends Corey Nelson and Chase Hunt-Murray continue to play well, blocking and receiving, but Smith and Williams need to recover soon if the Blue Devils are to right the ship.
Oakmont, who beat Davis 27-14 a year ago, is led by quarterback Ryan Shields, who has struggled with less than 500 yards passing in the first four games.
Running back Jordan Harris and flanker Justin Caliste supply the Vikings thunder and lightning on offense.
Notes: This is the last mulligan for the Blue Devils The locals open Delta Valley Conference play on Oct. 8 at undefeated Franklin (4-0) before returning home for Homecoming on Oct. 15 at Halden Field versus Laguna Creek (1-3). That eveningÕs game with the Cardinals will feature a grand-opening ceremony for the DevilsÕ new facility as the DHS Blue & White Foundation thanks Brown Construction and the community for its work on the new facility.
Ñ Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 747-8056. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com