Though the Davis High football team didn’t decide on its starting quarterback until just two days before the season opener — junior Quinten Jones earned the spot — the rest of the Blue Devil backfield was a different story.
Observers from around the area knew DHS had a deep and talented corps of running backs and the Devils proved it in Friday’s 30-7 win at Foothill.
With Wally Perez missing the game due to injury, it was Talek Deary who stepped into the role of secondary back to the bruising Winfred Roberson. Deary rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries against the Mustangs, Roberson added 162 yards and a score while Jones picked up 44 rushing yards to go with his TD.
The running styles of Roberson and Deary are complementary, forming a yin-yang, fire and ice sort of balance between the two. Roberson is an every-down workhorse type of running back, while Deary serves as a change-of-pace, shifty back.
“You have the power and you have the speed,” Deary explained. “We dominate when we both do what we do.”
However, it wasn’t just the running backs who contributed to the success of Davis’ rushing attack.
“Most of my success depended on our line,”Deary said. “They deserve a lot of credit. We wouldn’t have been able to do what we did without our line. They dominated (Friday), and they led me to my success.”
First-year head coach Marc Hicks, himself a former prep star as a Blue Devil tailback, added: “The offensive line was good. They came out playing hard and opened a lot of holes for the running backs to run through. That was a big deal, for me. That was everything. Being a former running back, there’s nothing prettier than coming downhill to the line of scrimmage and seeing a big ol’ gaping hole to run through. There’s nothing better than that.”
With the emergence of Deary, the big question will be how Hicks will distribute the carries between Roberson, Deary and Perez.
When asked about his plan to involve Perez, Hicks simply said, “We’ll see.”
Practice makes perfect: After last week’s loss, Bailey Murray told The Enterprise that he thought DHS had played like 11 individuals instead of one unit. Clearly, the identity of the Devils has changed after their win against Foothill.
“We became a family this game,” Deary said. “We were really focused, we got done what needed to be done, and because of that we came out on top.”
Murray added: “When we actually put our mind to it and work hard as a team during practice, we can actually get stuff done like this.”
Murray’s coach agreed that a good week of practice truly was a huge factor in Davis getting its first win:
“Practice (was the difference),” Hicks said. “I think last week we came out not overconfident, but confident that we were just going to go out and play great and we didn’t. We came out, played bad and made a lot of mistakes.
“This week, the Yuba City game was a wake-up call to (the team). They came out this week and worked hard. Hopefully that is what they will take away from this game: the harder you work, the better you’re going to be.”
Looking ahead: Despite the win, DHS still has a long way to go.
The Devil passing game did not do much against Foothill for the second straight week as Jones and back Emilio Barba combined to throw for just 75 yards.
In addition, the local kicking unit has a lot of room for improvement. On five extra-point attempts, Davis was called for a penalty on one, had one blocked and was forced to improvise following fumbled snaps on the other three.
— Reach Thomas Oide at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8047.