Enterprise staff writer
Despite dropping its sixth straight game Ñ 42-28 to visiting Laguna Creek on Friday at Homecoming Ñ it was a game filled with little victories for Davis High.
ÒThat was as good a half as I have seen from a high school tight end,Ó Blue Devil football coach Steve Smyte said of his senior sensation Peter Smith. ÒCoaching, scouting for college, watching films. That was as good a performance as it gets.Ó
As for DHS quarterback Shayne Reagan?
ÒHe has to keep running for his life,Ó Smyte continued. ÒDespite that, he was throwing dimes. We had six or seven dropped passes. I wish we could give him more support.Ó
And then there was senior wide receiver Dillard Brown.
ÒHe and Peter and Reagan played with such heart. I am so proud of those three,Ó the first-year coach said after watching his team gain 208 yards through the air in the second Delta Valley
Conference game of the year. ÒI feel we excelled in that part of the game tonight.Ó
But on the other side of the ball, there stood Don Jackson.
A three-year starter at tailback, the 5-foot-9, 175-pound speedster had a video-game performance that spelled doom for Davis.
Carrying the ball 32 times, Jackson torched the locals for 429 yards and five touchdowns.
So commanding was the seniorÕs outing, that at one point in the second quarter Ñ on three straight carries Ñ he ran for 228 yards and three Cardinal scores. Seriously.
ÒWe just donÕt have anybody like their No. 24,Ó Smyte offered, knowing his impact player, running back Courtney Williams, missed yet another game with a thigh injury. ÒWe did about as much as we could do with what weÕve got available.Ó
For a while, the patchwork Devils (1-6, 0-2 in DVC) were up to the task.
With a crowd of almost 3,000 looking on, DHS opened the scoring with an eight-play, 69-yard drive. Starting with a 38-yard double-reverse to Brown, the Blue Devils hung one on the board when Smith caught a 20-yard pass from Reagan.
After Jackson hinted at what was to come when he scored from only 24 yards out, Davis answered early in the second period, Reagan placing a perfect pass to Smith in the corner of the end zone. Sammy HouckÕs point-after gave the Devils their last lead, 14-7 with nine minutes left in the half.
When the Cardinals (2-5, 1-1) took over on their own 20, DHS looked to be in control. Jackson was stopped by linebacker Corey Nelson and tackle Blair Kittle on consecutive carries. When Jackson managed a first down carry to his own 35, little did the fans know what a stunning turn of events was at hand.
On his next three carries, Jackson would break off touchdown runs of 65, 82 and 91 yards.
If there is a greater three-straight-carry carnage in prep history, itÕs not documented by the CIF office.
Once JacksonÕs smoke settled, the Blue Devils were trailing 28-14 as halftime approached.
ÒIÕm proud of what I saw. We fought hard and didnÕt quit,Ó Smyte pointed out. ÒOur guys competed.Ó
Taking over at his own 31 with only 1:11 left in the period, Reagan orchestrated a six-play drive that ended with Brown catching a 10-yard touchdown pass.
After weathering JacksonÕs bombardment, Davis was within seven.
Thanks to strong play from defenders Nelson, Dane Denkers and Brent Martin and key stops by Marcus Charles and Grant Dickerson (just called up from junior varsity), the Devils stuck with Laguna Creek Ñ until Jackson provided the knock-out punch with an 18-yard TD just before the end of the third period.
Still that no-quit attitude paid dividends one last time for DHS.
As time was running out, the Blue Devils went on a 10-play, 92-yard drive, which Reagan capped with an 11-yard run to paydirt, finalizing the score.
In its best offensive effort since an opening-day 31-6 victory over Armijo, Davis gained more than 300 yards with Reagan hitting on 14-of-32 passes for 208 yards and three more touchdowns. Brown led the Devils with 51 yards on two carries and sophomore Tanna Stevens had 26 yards on six carries. Versatile Denkers added 25 yards on 10 lugs.
Next up for DHS is area powerhouse Grant on the road on Friday. The undefeated Pacers, ranked third in the state, just got past Monterey Trail on Friday, 28-22. In the other DVC game, Franklin nipped Elk Grove, 29-28.
Notes: Williams says he is ÒhopefulÓ of returning to the lineup before seasonÕs end. Undergoing physical therapy for his thigh injury, the senior sprinter was walking with a limp on Friday. … Smyte believes junior QB Reagan Òis as good a quarterback as there is in the region.Ó The coach says the Devils need to find a way to buy Reagan time to throw. … In a moving ceremony, the two-year Halden Field rehabilitation project was dedicated on Friday as Ron & Mary Brown Stadium, honoring the work of Brown Construction and its donation of in-kind service through the companyÕs Build It Forward program. Blue & White Foundation members estimate the BrownsÕ contributions to be in the neighborhood of $700,000 to 800,000.
Ñ Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or (530) 747-8056. Comment on this story or visit The Enterprise sports blog at www.davisenterprise.com