Enterprise staff writer
SACRAMENTO Ñ Take your pick of high school football polls …
Grant High is ranked as high as fifth in the land (ESPNRise and USA Today) or as ÒlowÓ as 32 (MaxPreps.com).
Regardless, on Friday night against Davis, the Pacers proved they deserve their national rankings.
In an efficient 56-0 shellacking of the visiting Blue Devils, Grant (8-0) ran up 308 yards rushing and used a mammoth defensive line to stall every DHS possession.
ÒOur kids played hard,Ó Davis head coach Steve Smyte said afterward. ÒGoing into the game we had about 20 healthy football players. What did we have? One penalty (actually two), a lost fumble? The guys werenÕt intimidated.Ó
Opposing a Pacer defensive line that at times featured Villiami Moalo (340 pounds), Tevon McBride (370) and Chris Mason (350), the DevilsÕ scheme asked center Lucas Brattesani (175 pounds) to keep an eye on that vaunted Grant bull rush up the middle.
While DHS quarterback Shayne Reagan was never afforded a comfortable pocket, to the credit of Brattesani and linemen Dominic Brown, Robert Rico, Blair Kittle, Alex Magrino and Francisco Leon-Gomez, Reagan was sacked but twice.
ÒWe showed a lot of heart,Ó Davis defensive coordinator Tom Watts added. ÒItÕs hard when you donÕt match up physically.Ó
In the first couple minutes of the Delta Valley Conference game, visions of sugarplums danced in the heads of Blue Devil fans.
On GrantÕs first possession, stops by Kittle Ñ one of numerous DHS players going both ways Ñ and safety Grant Dickerson forced the Pacers to kick from deep in their own territory.
When punter Jonathan Iulio couldnÕt handle the snap, Corey Nelson, Dickerson, Brent Martin and Marcus Charles pounced on him at the 4-yard line.
But after a broken play on second down, an incomplete pass and a missed 27-yard field goal, those gleeful first moments turned to woe as GrantÕs version of Freddy Krueger appeared through the drizzle.
By the time all-purpose ball carrier Ference Lang was done with Davis, the locals were trailing 42-0 at halftime.
After DHS kicker Sammy Houck pulled that early three-point try left, Grant went on a six-play, 80-yard drive that ended in a five-yard touchdown from the senior Lang.
When the DevilsÕ next drive stalled, Lang went 73 yards on the first Pacer play and, just like that, it was 14-0.
Lang, on his next two carries, would score from 48 and 16 yards out before Grant QB Terry Shine found Lychuaun Jones open on a skinny post for a 44-yard score. Just before half, Lang finished his end zone visits with an eight-yard TD.
But DHS sucked it up for an improved second half Ñ actually holding the Pacers scoreless over the final 13:11.
ÒI told their defensive coordinator (Reggie Harris), ÔWeÕll give you a better game next year … and the year after, weÕre coming after you,Ó said Smyte, who is in his first season at the helm. ÒRome wasnÕt built in a day.Ó
Lang finished the night with 170 yards on only seven touches, and his five scores marked the second straight week a DVC running back has scored five times against the Devils. Don Jackson turned the trick (adding 429 yards) in Laguna CreekÕs 42-28 at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium on Oct. 15.
Try as they might, the Blue Devils couldnÕt muster anything on offense.
Nonetheless, Smyte said Harris told him he thought Reagan was Òthe best quarterback in the league.Ó
Reagan, whose 8-for-24 performance netted only 59 yards, wasnÕt concerned about the stats.
ÒIt was fun,Ó Reagan smiled afterwards. ÒYeah, IÕm a little sore, but itÕs a matter of keeping your head in there. Each game we learn something new and, in the end, we become better athletes. We will keep up the positive attitude.Ó
Davis was limited to 82 yards of offense Ñ eight of those coming on seven carries from long-missing tailback Courtney Williams.
Williams, hobbled by a serious thigh injury, wasnÕt going to miss this game. Maybe 70 percent of his former self (1,073 yards rushing in 2009, an 11.1 sprinter in the 100 meters), Williams showed that heart to which Smyte and the staff are always pointing.
ÒWe talked until midnight (Thursday) about him playing,Ó CourtneyÕs mom Carol offered during the game. ÒHe said nothing was going to keep him from this game.Ó
Watching Williams limp through his assignments was tough for Carol and Courtney Sr. and Devil fans, who were sure of one thing Ñ a healthy Williams probably would have wiped that Davis goose egg from the scoreboard.
The locals are now 1-7, having won a 31-6 decision over Armijo in the season opener.
Notes: Martin may have suffered a concussion on a play in which he also hurt his neck. Neither was considered serious, but Martin missed most of the game. … Sophomore offensive lineman Brian Stabenfeldt injured an ankle early and sat out afterwards. … Next up for DHS is Elk Grove at home. ItÕs Senior Night. … Another sophomore, RB Tanna Stevens, will be spending the weekend in the whirlpool. Carrying eight times for 11 yards and being asked to pick up blitzes, Stevens was up to the task, but beaten up from what must have been his most physical gridiron experience to date. … Kittle led the Blue Devils in tackles with six. Nelson had five and Dickerson and Nick Jenness had four each.
Ñ Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or (530) 747-8056. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com