Friday was just not the Davis High football team’s night.
With Monterey Trail quarterback Donovan Robinson and his veer offense coming to Ron & Mary Brown Stadium for both teams’ Delta Valley Conference opener, the Blue Devils fell behind early and couldn’t catch up, losing 21-14.
After the game, DHS head coach Marc Hicks expressed his disappointment in his team’s play as it fell to 4-2 overall and 0-1 in league.
“I thought we played poorly,” Hicks said. “Offensively, we were horrific, I … I’m actually speechless for the first time.”
Robinson and his offense wasted no time getting going. On just the fourth play of the game, Robinson pulled the ball away from his running back and took it around the edge untouched for a 64-yard score. The extra point put the Mustangs (4-2, 1-0) up 7-0.
Robinson went on to score all three MTHS touchdowns, and the veer offense baffled the typically stingy Devil defense to the tune of 286 rushing yards. Despite those stats, defensive coordinator Ty Brown said it was only a few plays that really made the difference.
“This game was everything that we knew it would be,” Brown said. “It was a tough, physical game that was won and lost at the line of scrimmage.
“We knew that all it was gonna take was one, two mistakes and that would be the difference in the ball game, and we made those one or two mistakes on defense (Friday). We just couldn’t make the plays that we needed to make on defense down the stretch.”
Down 7-0, it was the special teams crew that provided Davis’ initial spark. After the local defense forced a three-and-out deep in Monterey Trail territory, the Mustangs sent out their punt team.
Punter Veondre Lewis muffed the snap, and the Blue Devils were all over him. The fumble recovery gave the offense fantastic field position on the Mustang five.
DHS quarterback Quinten Jones took advantage of the opportunity by finding receiver Nate Curtis for a four-yard scoring pass, tying the game at 7-7. That score carried over into intermission.
Even with the Devil defense giving it chances, the offense could not get anything going in the third period.
After recovering a fumble, the locals responded by giving the ball right back on an interception. When the Davis defense forced a turnover on downs, the Blue Devils threw another pick to give MTHS possession on the DHS 27.
Moments later, on the first play of the drive, Robinson took a quarterback keeper to the house to make it 13-7.
On the Devils’ ensuing drive, running back Wally Perez uncharacteristically coughed up the ball, DHS’ third consecutive turnover.
The Blue Devils, who were down two on the turnover margin, had not been on the negative side of that stat in a game since dropping the season opener at Yuba City.
“Give a lot of credit to Monterey Trail,” Brown said. “They were secure with the ball. We were able to get one (turnover on Friday), but we knew it was going to take two or three for us to get this game.
“We just have to get back to stripping at the ball, and they didn’t put the ball into the air too much, so we didn’t have the opportunities for interceptions.”
After the locals were forced to punt with 4:30 to play, the Davis defense knew it had to make something happen. But when it looked like the Blue Devils had put the Mustangs in a third-and-long situation, safety Bailey Yarrow shoved a Monterey Trail player after the whistle blew, drawing a personal foul call for an automatic first down.
That set up another Robinson touchdown run, as he went in untouched 13 yards out. After MTHS converted the two-point conversion, the Mustangs had a comfortable 21-7 lead with 3:40 to go.
The Devils were able to get a consolation touchdown, when Jones connected with Curtis for a 24-yard scoring pass, but it was too little, too late.
When DHS could not recover the onside kick, Monterey Trail kneeled to end the game. That play that was followed by a brief scuffle.
“Collectively, we didn’t come to play,” Hicks said. “I’m disheartened by it, but we get to play again next Friday (against Franklin). We will correct, we will discipline and we will get ready to go.
“This week we’re gonna regroup and we’re going to work on our character and our heart. We kinda got away — at the end of the game — from who we are and what we’re about, so we gotta correct that.”
Notes: The Blue Devils did get one win on the night as linebacker Brendan MacDonald was named Homecoming king. … DHS recorded less than 200 yards of total offense for the second consecutive week. … Talek Deary had two big kick returns for the Devils, busting a 69-yarder as well as a 37-yard scamper. … Curtis finished with six catches for 101 yards.