Enterprise staff writer
When Davis High hits the road Friday for a nonleague outing with Division III football power Colfax, head coach Steve Smyte believes his Blue Devils will be primed to take a step forward.
ÒWe know what the problems are,Ó Smyte says. ÒWe keep knocking off a few of our problem areas each week, so we are getting better. We see it when we watch the films.
ÒWe are playing smarter. We just need to keep our focus for a whole series on defense and continue to execute on offense. Special teams have gotten better … we didnÕt have to take a timeout on (transitions).Ó
Nonetheless, the Blue Devils are coming off a disappointing 43-20 loss to Will C. Wood in Week 3. Why?
ÒWe just didnÕt play well on defense,Ó Smyte understated after watching his team get down 29-0 before mounting a late comeback. Smyte and his coaches agree, too, that DHS needs to come out of blocks with an early score.
Gametime against the Falcons (2-1) is 7:30 p.m.
With tailback Courtney Williams gaining more than 350 yards in the first three games Ñ and junior quarterback Shayne Reagan hitting for four touchdowns Ñ Davis has more than enough offensive fireworks.
The question is, whoÕll light the fuse, and when, on Friday?
While Smyte believes a win would be nice, he knows victories are a progression of carrying out assignments Ñ without mistakes and with heart. He liked the 300-plus-yard, three-touchdown effort of his offense against Wood, and thinks his team is building positively toward Delta Valley Conference play.
ÒOur goal has been to get better every week; take care of the things we can control; peak during league; and save some of our ÔstuffÕ for league,Ó Smyte continues. ÒEvery week, there are new things put in based on what opponents do. We try to see if we can fit what we already do into the mix based on what (our foes do), and then we add a few wrinkles.Ó
The Devils, who have started 1-2, are coming off of back-to-back seasons in which they went 2-8 and were winners of only three DVC contests. Under first-year coach Smyte, a new pro-set, spread offense was installed and on the other side of the ball, a 3-4 defense was designed to take advantage of quick, physical linebacker play.
Penalties killed DHS in the first two games (costing it four scores in the Armijo win) and early-game defensive fuzziness has forced the Blue Devils to play uphill in each of the past two second halves.
Bright spots like receiver Majed EddinÕs two touchdowns against Wood and the play of versatile lineman Blair Kittle and linebacker Corey Nelson are things to build on.
But another point of light, two-way performer Dillard Brown, will miss at least two games with a perforated ear drum.
Brown toasted Wood on a 38-yard TD reception from Reagan and was playing strong from his secondary spot until his last-minute injury, resulting from trying to stop the WildcatsÕ final drive.
ÒDillard has been awesome,Ó Smyte points out. ÒHe has made big catches when weÕve needed them. He gives us a nice complement to Courtney … another explosive weapon along with Majed and (tight end) Peter Smith.Ó
But with Brown down, look for wideout Kristian Mackewicz, Eddin and WR/TE Chase Hunt-Murray to have expanded roles.
Notes: Injured lineman Jacob ÒCookie MonsterÓ Schroeder is still a fixture at DHS practice. ÒHe is what this program is all about,Ó Smyte says. ÒHe is out (at practice) all the time. He has been great for the team.Ó Schroeder, expected to be a key member of the Devil line, hurt his knee in preseason practice, and is out for the year. But Smyte and SchroederÕs teammates have been impressed by his sense of family Ñ something that Smyte says makes this Devil crew stand apart. … Colfax plays its games on campus at 24995 Ben Taylor Road. Directions: travel I-80 to Auburn. Take S. Auburn St (Hwy. 174), follow S. Auburn until making a left onto E. Grass Valley St. Next, make a left at Rising Sun Road. Following Rising Sun to Ben Taylor Road, make a right and look for the stadium. Travel time is about 80 minutes. … Davis returns home Ñ really home Ñ on Oct. 1 with its final nonleague tune-up against Oakmont. The game marks the unveiling of the new Halden Field stands, snack bar and entrance.
ÑÊReach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 747-8056. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com