In 2013, football games at all levels are looking more and more like seven-on-seven drills with wide-open passing attacks and rules that make it hard for defenses to stop them.
But in winning its past four contests — to enter Friday night’s Delta Valley Conference opener against Monterey Trail at 4-1 on the season — the Davis High varsity football team has developed an old-school attitude.
The Blue Devils’ success in head coach Marc Hicks’ first year at the helm has come from a dominating defense and a dynamic running game. The strong ground attack should come as no surprise to longtime DHS fans who know that Hicks was one of the top prep running backs in the nation when he played at Davis High in the early 1980s.
Hicks’ college career began at Cal, where he once rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns in an upset win over USC. Opening holes for him that day was a fullback named Winfred Roberson.
Now, Hicks is the district safety coordinator in addition to his football coaching duties while Roberson is the Davis school district’s superintendent and his son, Winfred Roberson Jr., is the Devils’ leading rusher in 2013.
The younger Roberson, a 5-foot-10, 210-pound senior, has gained 452 yards and scored five touchdowns this season, teaming with speedy junior Talek Deary to give DHS a thunder-and-lightning RB combo.
Even junior quarterback Quinten Jones is a threat to run as he has picked up 102 yards this year, netting several more that were erased by sacks.
Using that potent rushing attack, the Blue Devils have averaged 21.5 points a night on their four-game winning streak, which is more than enough for a defense that has been ultra-stingy.
After a tough start in a 40-0 Week 1 loss at Yuba City, Davis’ defense has not allowed a point in three of the past four games (Foothill got a defensive score in the Devils’ 30-7 Week 2 win to avoid an actual shutout).
DHS has gotten good play from its defensive line, boasts one of the best linebacking trios around — seniors Brendan MacDonald and Eli Castro and junior Wally Perez — and seen safety Bailey Yarrow pick off a couple of passes. Senior Joey Dossa’s emergence as a lockdown cornerback also has been key.