With 13 boys water polo Sac-Joaquin Section championships under its belt, Davis High is used to the playoff format that doesn’t often provide a challenge in the opening round.
That was the case on Friday as the defending CIF runner-up Blue Devils scored six unanswered goals in the first five minutes to take down Buhach Colony, 20-5, at Johansen High.
The test for DHS, was to maintain what coach Tracy Stapleton called “that mental edge.”
“It’s kind of a tough thing because we played our last game (Oct. 27), so you go a week without playing another team, then your first playoff game is against a team that was third-place in their league,” Stapleton said. “It’s difficult to maintain intensity … but then each (playoff) game gets more competitive.”
In trying to stay in the moment on Friday, the Devils leaned on their four seniors — Connor Stapleton, Jack Blattner, Patrick Zhu and Derek Tully — for leadership, while the entire team saw action in the water.
Stapleton led Davis with eight goals, with the rest of the scoring coming from the Blue Devils’ outstanding junior class. Eleventh-graders Graham Fullerton and Garrett Fisk tallied five apiece, with Chad Prizmich and Tyler Ujifusa adding single goals.
With defending section champion Jesuit out of the tournament — the Marauders were beaten by St. Mary’s 10-6 on Friday — DHS continues on with a quarterfinal matchup against Merced on Tuesday (8 a.m.) at Tokay High.
The Bears, who finished undefeated in league to win the Central California Conference, topped Del Oro, 14-10, on Friday.
“I think we know what they do, but they are a little bit unorthodox in their attack,” coach Stapleton said of Merced. “We have to be methodical throughout and really pay attention to what’s going on.”