For the Davis High School football team, the season starts now.
The Blue Devils (4-1) will begin their journey into the fearsome Delta Valley Conference on Friday when they take on Monterey Trail in their Homecoming game.
DHS — coming off its bye week — had a very productive seven days, according to head coach Marc Hicks.
“A lot of going back to the basics; we went back to Page 1 and started over,” Hicks said. “(Assistant coach Ty) Brown always says, ‘Football comes down to two things: fundamentals and tackling,’ so that’s what we went to this week.”
Davis will need to apply the fundamentals in this week’s game as it comes up against a much-improved Mustangs squad.
For many Devil fans, last year’s 42-7 beatdown of Monterey Trail is still fresh in their minds, but don’t expect a similar outcome as last year. The Mustangs are 3-2 so far this season, and their two losses have come to regional powerhouse Inderkum and state power Folsom.
The biggest concern for the DHS defense is MTHS’ Donovan Robinson, a small, shifty quarterback who has rushed for 326 yards and eight scores this season. But the Blue Devils have been working to stop that style of QB, as they have given them problems in the past.
“We’ve been working a lot on containing the quarterback, and staying in our rush lanes,” said Brown, Davis’ defensive coordinator. “Again, it just comes back to playing fundamental football, we need to do the simple things to make it a simple game.”
The Devil front seven will have to be ready for yet another run heavy attack, as the Mustangs are averaging 242.6 rushing yards per game and have five players who have run for more than 100 yards.
One of the concerns for the DHS defense — which has paced the team this season — is its time spent on the field. Even in beating Woodland, 7-0, on Sept. 27, the locals played most of the game on defense.
“We will do our job on offense this week,” Hicks said. “We will try to keep the defense off the field. Anybody will know and will tell you, defense wins games. Offense scores points, but defense wins the game. At this stage of the season, they are the backbone, and we don’t have the luxury of having 90 guys, or 80 guys, or 70 guys on our team. We have 38.”
Davis’ offense sputtered against Woodland, with the Devils putting up their first sub-100-yard rushing performance since the season opener against Yuba City. According to Hicks, the lackluster offensive outing came because the offensive line was not getting enough push.
“I think we were too amped up for Woodland,” Hicks said. “We went out and tripped all over ourselves because we were so amped up. When you expend all that energy all at once, you don’t have any left in the tank going forward.”
With Friday’s game just the first in a rugged DVC schedule, the Blue Devils need to have that tank filled to full capacity for the next five weeks.
— Reach Thomas Oide at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterThomas