ELK GROVE — Mama mia! Who saw that coming?
Feeling pretty good about itself after starting Delta Valley Conference play with a rout of Monterey Trail a week ago, Davis High was knocked silly on Friday — losing 72-7 to Franklin at Cosumnes Oaks High.
“We played a very good football team,” DHS head coach Steve Smyte told The Enterprise. “My hat’s off to Mike Johnson and his coaching staff. They did a great job in preparing for us.”
In holding the Blue Devils to 112 yards total offense, the Wildcats were busy piling up 433 rushing yards, forcing three DHS turnovers and catching the locals off-guard with a host of blazing ground-burners.
“We have a hard time approximating their kind of speed in our practices,” Smyte added. “They have a lot of weapons on their team. We had to play our best to be able to win this game — and we didn’t. I take full responsibility. As the head of this family, I’m most responsible for this loss.”
Chin up, coach. Franklin (7-0, 2-0 in DVC) is ranked No.2 in the Sac-Joaquin Section and boasts one of the state’s top running games.
Nonetheless, Davis (4-3, 1-1) was hopeful.
Taking the opening kickoff, the Devils figured passing might be a way to mystify their foes. DHS quarterback Grant Dickerson had thrown for almost 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns in the first six outings — and his deep receiving corps had been successful in every game, even the losses.
But Davis went 0-for-3 through the air and Franklin set up at their own 44 after Dickerson’s punt.
On the Wildcats’ second play, Christian Fonbuena went 39 yards for a touchdown. Kicker Tyler Ramel made the first of his 10 extra points on the night and the ground began rumbling early.
After the Blue Devils were forced to punt after a second three-and-out, Kyran Harris went 51 yards on the third play of Franklin’s subsequent drive. The 1,400 fans in attendance now suspected something was up.
By the time intermission arrived, Kyron O’Berry had gone 14 yards for the third Franklin tally, followed by the Brother Act — Roberts Sanders’ end-around pass to sibling receiver Damion Sanders for a 38-yard TD — then second scores for Fonbuena (nine yards) and Harris (11).
Fonbuena led all ball carriers with 147 yards on 13 tries. Harris went for 127 on 10 lugs.
Along the way, there were some bittersweet moments for the Devils …
DHS linebacker Brendan MacDonald made four consecutive tackles in one sequence, finishing with eight in the game. However, the junior exited early with a leg injury. Team trainer Flo Salesa said MacDonald’s mishap didn’t look serious.
Adam King had a game-high 11 tackles. Like MacDonald, at one point, King made four straight stops. However, most teams don’t want their safety being the game’s top tackler.
Davis fell further behind in the third period.
After a failed onside kick, the Blue Devils were quickly backed up to their own goal line. Eli Castro and Nash Nunes ganged up on FHS tailback Steven Rogers for no gain on first down. On second, five Blue Devils hit Rogers at the 1.
But on the third down, Franklin abandoned its power game as Trevon Lampley scored on an end-around.
Receiver Lampley, who torched DHS for five touchdowns and 190 yards rushing in last year’s 62-21 victory over the Devils, was held in check on this night: 12 yards rushing, no receptions and that one-yard score.
But Franklin had 10 other guys carrying the ball Friday.
After Curtis Williams forced Dickerson out of the end zone for a safety (two bad snaps cost DHS dearly), Franklin made it 58-0 when Rogers got his TD on a four-yard cutback run.
Finally, with 2:46 remaining in the third period, Davis got on the board.
Facing a third-and-11 from its own 34, C.K. Hicks shook loose deep and managed to take Dickerson’s pass away from defender O’Berry. Hicks’ effort was good for 49 yards — at the time more than doubling the Devils’ offensive output on the night.
On the next play, Hicks scored on a 12-yard pass from Dickerson. Thomas May’s conversion ended the DHS scoring. Hicks finished with three catches, good for 102 yards and his score.
With the mercy clock running non-stop in the final period, Franklin managed two more touchdowns. One came on Joey Banks’ 15-yard run, the other when Williams got in from the three with 2:02 left in the contest.
Next up for Davis, Laguna Creek and Homecoming on Friday.
“Our guys understand they’re still in (the playoff) hunt,” Smyte said. “We just lost to a good team. Homecoming will be great. It’s a terrific experience for the players, but distractions are always a worry for coach. The (players) can enjoy the Homecoming stuff and still be focused on the task at hand. And we will be.”
Certainly, Franklin got their attention.
Notes: With his 102-yard night, Hicks now has 521 receiving yards. He has six TDs (one rushing). … Winfred Roberson, who played some fullback against Franklin, led the Blue Devils with 27 rushing yards on eight carries. With Dickerson chasing a couple of errant snaps and being sacked twice, the QB’s ground chart of six carries for minus-35 helped put Davis at minus-six yards on the ground. Dickerson was 4-of-18 for 118 yards passing with three interceptions. … Davis two-way lineman Zac Slavich, who has been playing terrific ball, was cleated on the second play of the game and came out. Salesa said he should be OK for the Devil stretch drive. Linebacker/TE Mike McTygue was shaken up on the last FHS kickoff. No report yet on the extent of his injury. … Laguna Creek lost to Monterey Trail, 26-3, and No. 1 Elk Grove stopped struggling Grant, 24-0, in other DVC contests Friday.