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DHS looks to tackle problems

By October 19, 2010

Enterprise staff writer

There was help with addition of former junior varsity standout Grant Dickerson. Lineman Blair Kittle played one of his most inspired games of 2010. Dane Denkers, used at a handful of positions, continued to do whatever was asked of him.

Mix in Brent Martin, Corey Nelson and Nick Jenness, and there was plenty of positive energy on defense for Davis High last week.

But (and there always seems to be a but for the Blue Devils), overall, it was another disappointing defensive showing for the locals.

Losing 42-28, there was no answer for Laguna CreekÕs Don Jackson. Owning 429 yards and five touchdowns, JacksonÕs brilliant performance hinted of things to come as Davis travels to Grant on Friday.

ÒWe needed to do a better job of tackling,Ó DHS coach Steve Smyte noted after watching Jackson break tackles in the backfield in his stunning three-carry, three-touchdown salvo in the second period.

ÒWe put a couple of hats on him É and he broke through. We have to stop people. I was disappointed in the defense.Ó

If JacksonÕs three-carry, 236-yard episode at Homecoming was scary, keep in mind without that mindblowing segment, Davis was in the game the rest of the way.

But you donÕt get plays back Ñ and when Kittle comes up with nine tackles like he did Friday, Smyte and company hope the example isnÕt lost on the rest of the team. Can Davis stick and stay when trying to defend running back Shaq Thompson (988 yards and 16 touchdowns) and wide receiver Ference Lang (646 yards and 11 scores on the ground)?

Grant, at 7-0 and No. 3 in California, is not a happy camper.

It had to come from behind against Monterey Trail in a 28-22 cliffhanger last week. Smyte said he wasnÕt happy that the Pacers have something to prove this week and he and defensive coordinator Tom Watts hope the good play from guys like Jenness, Dickerson and Nelson spreads.

Jenness recovered a fumble, had six tackles and defended a pass. Dickerson had four tackles and a key stop on third down.

NelsonÕs eight tackles were, for the most part, timely, but DavisÕ active group of linebackers were often herded inside and slow to get to the The CreekÕs wide runs.

Offensively, SmyteÕs experience as a big-time wide receiver coach is paying dividends.

Wideouts Kristian Mackewicz, Dillard Brown, Majed Eddin, Brandon Hassid and tight end Peter Smith are hard to cover and Ñ thanks to the mobile magic of junior quarterback Shayne Reagan Ñ are being more productive each week.

The problem?

ÒWe dropped six or seven passes,Ó Smyte said after the Cardinal loss. ÒWe canÕt do that and expect to compete.Ó

At 1-6 with Grant, Elk Grove (3-4) and Monterey Trail (4-3) on the horizon, to win another game itÕs going to take a Perfect Storm of the Blue DevilsÕ best defensive effort coupled with a night of flawless offense.

Against Laguna Creek, there were snippets of accomplishment. But last Friday, when Davis took two steps forward with the ball, it took three steps back on defense.

Against Grant?

ÒTheyÕre pretty impressive,Ó Smyte said after watching the Pacers on film until almost 1 a.m. Monday.

As usual, Davis will come up with something designed to stop Thompson and Lang. But the key will be actually wrapping up on defense and not letting Grant get the corner.

If the Blue Devils find the formula Friday, look for every team in California to borrow the recipe.

Bruce Gallaudet

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