By Shane Bennett
Fans who wanted to see a close game and those who preferred a blowout both got what they wanted at Tishomingo on Sept. 25. Turnovers transformed a nail-biter into a no-doubter with the Wolves pulling away late for a 33-6 win.
Tishomingo used its stacked “I” formation and ran the ball up the middle on nearly every play. In the first half, the home team’s scheme and execution worked well for them as they played keep away from Davis. In 28 first half plays, only one was stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage, allowing the Indian offense to stay on schedule and on the field.
“Tishomingo came in with a really good plan and it took us a while during the game to figure out exactly how they were blocking us,” remarked Davis head coach Greg Parker. “It really was just a few detailed adjustments of how to execute our defense that made all the difference in stopping them.”
Three plays into the game Tishomingo faced third down and eight yards-to-go and converted with 10-yard run to get a successful first half started. The opening drive of the game would end at the Davis 31 yard-line, netting zero points after 10 plays.
On fourth-and-four, it was Drew Parks bringing the lumber to stop the Indian runningback cold before his teammates came in to finish off the tackle and force a turnover on downs.
Davis took over and used a 13-yard run by Brandon Blankenship on third down to tally their first, first-down of the game. Just three plays later though, the Wolves would punt.
Dulaney got off what will likely end up being the best punt of the year. The angle kick flew to about the 20 yard-line, took a big hop to about the 10 and rolled out of bounds at the one yard-line.
The Davis defense promptly forced a three-and-out and it looked like the Wolves would get great starting field position. Instead, tailback/punter Hunter Stephens took off on a fake from his own seven yard-line and rushed for 26 yards up to the 33 to keep the drive going.
Then Davis forced another punt four plays later and finally got the ball back. The Wolves took over at their own 31 yard-line again, now early in the second quarter, and maneuvered 69 yards in eight plays for the game’s first score.
The key play on the drive was a beautiful play-action pass from quarterback Colin Dulaney to wide receiver Christian Hymes. Dulaney dropped in a perfect pass on a deep corner route and Hymes hauled it in for a 33-yard splash play.
Blankenship and Lane Rawls then ran the ball down to the 10 yard-line before Davis went to an unfamiliar place for the touchdown. On his first carry of the season, Tucker Miller took the option pitch and punched into the endzone to give the Wolves the lead. Miller now has the unique bragging rights that he has scored on every rushing attempt this season.
The point after kick was no good, so Davis led 6-0 with 6:47 left in the second quarter.
Then back came the Indians. The home team leaned on Stephens, their bell cow, for eight carries on a 12-play, 61-yard scoring drive. Stephens would carry the ball 21 times in the first half for 121 yards to keep his team in the game.
As the Indians also missed the extra point, the first half ended 6-6. The Davis offense ran just 16 plays in the first half.
“Not only was Tishomingo possessing the ball, they were also bleeding the play clock down before they snapped it,” Parker said. “With so few plays in the half, there was no room for error and no time to really find out how they were defending us.”
The Wolf offense was anxious to get to work in the third quarter, but the unit would have to wait.
The opening kickoff of the second half was high and short and the Wolves misplayed it. The resulting fumble was recovered by Tishomingo and the home team would again start the half with the ball.
On fourth-and-1 three plays later Davis caught a break. Tishomingo committed a false start penalty, turning it into a passing down. Tight coverage by Cody Caraway forced an incompletion and Davis took over downs at its own 32 yard-line.
The Wolves went to the ground game, grinding a 68-yard touchdown drive in 14 plays that changed the tone of the contest. After carrying the ball just once in the first half, Dulaney carried it eight times in that drive to get his team going in the second half. He piled up 41 of the Wolves’ 68 yards on the possession including the one-yard score on a quarterback sneak to cap it.
He then added a two-point run to make it 14-6 with just 1:42 left in the third quarter.
A big play put an end to Tishomingo’s next drive. After one first down, the home team approached midfield. Then Miller made a pile in the backfield and the Wolves stuffed a first-down run for a loss of one. Then he, Jake Britt and Connor Mohr combined for a stop at the line of scrimmage on second down. Just like that, the Indians’ power offense was facing third-and-long.
Tishomingo came out in a twins set for the first time all night and tried to throw a quick screen pass, but Jeston Idleman would have none of it. He saw the quarterback and receiver make eye contact and knew exactly what was coming. He stepped in front of the pass and picked it off to produce the turnover for the Wolves.
Davis took over at the Tishomingo 40 yard-line, but went nowhere. Tishomingo’s defense rose up to force a punt on fourth-and-10.
A 30-yard kick by Dulaney went out of bounds at the 10 and the stage was set. With 8:13 left in the game the Indians took over with a chance for one last drive to tie it. Instead, Davis created three turnovers, leading to 19 fourth-quarter points.
On the first play, Caraway pounced on a fumble and Davis took over at the 12 yard-line. Two plays later Parks would punch the ball into the endzone on a five-yard run to make it a two-possession lead, 20-6.
On third and three of the Indians’ next drive Levi Baxter hit Stephens in the backfield, forcing another fumble. This time Tuff Hammons pounced on the loose ball and the Wolves had another possession.
Starting from the Tishomingo 22, Davis needed just five plays to score go up 26-6 with just 2:34 to play. The Wolves weren’t done though.
Parker dialed up the blitz on the Indians’ next play and Miller made the most of it. He came free off the end of the line and blew up the Tishomingo quarterback for a bone-rattling sack-fumble. As the ball popped loose, Miller ended up with the recovery.
Then Davis went immediately back to the endzone. Parks got the carry up the middle and spun out of a tackle a couple of yards down the field. As the defender fell off, Parks took off and raced 33 yards for a touchdown to put an exclamation point on the win.
Davis scored twice in a span of 20 seconds to turn what had been a slogging one-possession game for most of the night into a laugher.
“Once were able to get our defense figured out at halftime they really didn’t ever get any momentum on offense,” Parker said later. “They really couldn’t stop our offense either so even though it was a tight game were weren’t really all that concerned in the second half.”
The four fourth-quarter turnovers accentuated what had been a stifling defensive effort in the second half. After racking up 133 yards in the first half, the home team managed just 26 after the break.
On the flipside, Parks, Rawls and Dulaney had combined for just 20 rushing yards in the first half. That trio teamed up for 134 in the second half. Dulaney led the way and finished the game with 14 carries for 70 yards. Rawls added 44 on nine totes and Parks amassed 40 yards on seven carries.
On the injury front, starting center and two-way player, Tanner Claxton went down with a leg injury in the second quarter and didn’t return. Kavan Bolding was solid filling in at center, as was Idleman, taking the place of injured starter Lathan Dickenson on defense.
Both will be called upon again if Claxton and Dickenson can’t go this week.
With the win, Davis is now 3-1 on the season, 1-0 in district play. They return home this week to face a 2-2 Comanche team coming off a 42-13 loss to fifth-ranked Marlow.
Comanche has some impressive athletes and can mix the run and the pass. The Indians showed that off in a pair of wins over Dickson and Healdton to start the season. Then, some of the those players were unavailable in a loss to Lone Grove in week three. Last week, Comanche was back up to full strength, but that wasn’t enough against a dominant Outlaw team.
Davis will have its hands full when the Wolves kickoff Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Wolf Field.
Team 1 2 3 4 – F
Davis 0 6 8 19 – 33
Tishomingo 0 6 0 0 – 6
D – Tucker Miller 10 run(kick failed), 6-0
T – Hunter Stephens 1 run. (kick failed), 6-6
D – Colin Dulaney 1 run. (Dulaney run), 14-6
D – Drew Parks 5 run. (pass failed), 20-6
D – Dulaney 3 run. (kick failed), 27-6
D – Parks 33 run. (Jeston Idleman kick), 33-6
10 First Downs 9
224 Total Offense 159
1/2/1 Comp./att./int. 0/4/1
39-191 Rushes-yds. 41-159
33 Passing Yards 0
2-1 Fumbles-lost 5-3
3-20 Penalties-yds. 4-2
2-40 Punts-avg. 1-30