By Shane Bennett
The Wolves’ trip to Comanche on Oct. 1 was a showdown between two teams that figure to make the 2A playoffs. Both teams combined to go 1-for-10 on fourth down conversions making for an awkward game that saw a rare combination of very few points or punts. As it turned out, the 8 points Davis scored in the first quarter ended up being enough as the Wolves outlasted the Indians, 14-6.
Both defenses were resilient in the game, giving up yards, but eventually getting stops to get off the field. Davis did that first just four plays into the game. Comanche went for it on fourth-and-1 from its own 48. The Wolves stuffed the play, though, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Jeston Idleman.
The Wolves took over with great field position at the Comanche 44, but the Indians returned the favor. The home team rose up for a stop on fourth-and-4 and took over at its own 38.
The Indians picked up two first downs on its next possession and had a fresh set of downs at the Davis 35, when the Wolves created the first of four first-half turnovers.
A deflected pass popped up in the air and Davis defensive lineman Connor Mohr snagged it out of the air for the interception.
“I was rushing and I seen him throw the ball so I turned around to look for the receiver,” Mohr explained after the game. “As soon as I turned around the ball was right there.”
Davis took over at its own 28 and used a big play to key a scoring drive. Two penalties created a third-and-20 before Lane Rawls broke free. The junior fullback took a handoff up the middle and fought through a tackle at the line of scrimmage. Once, he was free, he raced through the Comanche defense into open field. He nearly took it to the house, finally being tackled by a diving defender after a 63-yard gain. It was the longest run of the season for the Wolves and the longest for Rawls in a DHS uniform . . . . until about eight minutes later.
Davis hustled up to the line and quickly handed off to Brendan Rawls, who raced up the middle, spun out of a tackle at the five, and bowled over defenders into the end-zone for a 9-yard touchdown run.
Comanche jumped off-sides on the extra point kick, so the Wolves elected to go for two. Brendan Rawls got the hand-off and punched it in to put the Wolves up 8-0 with 5:29 to play in the first quarter.
Comanche responded with a big third-and-long play of its own. On third-and-10, the Indians went deep and completed a 31-yard pass down to the Davis 29. Two plays later, they were down to the 10. On second-and-2, the Davis defense stuffed a run for one yard. Then on third down, Jake Parker made a great tackle for no gain, setting up another fourth down play. On fourth-and-one, Idleman came slanting from the left end to smother the Indian runner for no gain and another turnover on downs.
Lane Rawls got the handoff on the next play for Davis and popped out the backside of play into the open field again. This time, he raced 72 yards before being dragged down at the Comanche 19. In a span of three offensive plays, the junior fullback had 135 rushing yards.
Unfortunately for the Wolves, a holding penalty backed the up and they ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Comanche 25.
The Indians then marched 34 yards and failed on fourth down at the Davis 41. The Wolves responded with a turnover on downs four plays at midfield as both defenses rose up in big moments. There were turnovers on downs on four straight possessions during that span.
Two plays later, Cody Caraway awed the crowd with the most incredible catch of the night. Comanche threw a deep post and the senior corner made a leaping, one-handed interception to nullify another threat by the Indians.
Davis was forced to punt a few plays later and Lane Rawls’ 44-yard boot backed the home team up at its own 9 yard-line. It was the first of two key punts in the game that pinned the home team inside its own 10.
“Sometimes a punt is a good play,” coach Parker said after the game. “We spend more time on punting than any other special teams and they were big for us in that game.”
Then Comanche put together its most impressive drive of the night. The Indians mixed run and pass and used a 55-yard rush to get into the red zone. Then they completed a 12-yard pass down to the six yard-line with just under two minutes to play in the first half. At the end of the play, though, the ball came out and Tuff Hammons recovered for a fourth turnover of the first half for the Davis defense.
“I couldn’t quite make the tackle but I held him long enough for the guys to get there,” Hammons said later. “The whistle never blew and I saw the ball laying there so I got on it.”
Parker and Drew Parks converged on the Comanche receiver, keeping him out of the end-zone and forcing the fumble in the process. That play preserved the Wolves’ 8-0 at the end of a wild first half.
Comanche ran 35 plays for 210 yards in the first half to 208 yards on 25 plays for Davis. The four turnovers for Comanche could’ve been catastrophic, but instead it was a one-possession to start the second half.
“I felt like we should’ve been up more at halftime, but Comanche probably felt the same way,” admitted Davis head coach Greg Parker. “The whole game was weird, but our players made a lot of outstanding plays.”
Davis got the ball to start the third quarter and quickly marched across midfield, where the ball would stay for the rest of frame. From early in the third quarter to early in the fourth, 35 consecutive snaps were taken in Comanche territory.
Davis’ first drive of the half went 32 yards on nine plays before Lane Rawls killed a punt at the Comanche two yard-line. The Davis defense forced a three-and-out and took over at the Comanche 46, but still couldn’t score.
The Wolves pounded their way to the Indian 4 on a seven play drive that ended on another failed fourth-down conversion.
Again, the Davis defense forced a punt after three plays and the Wolves started even closer, at the Comanche 39.
The third drive was the charm for Davis in the second half as an encroachment penalty on Comanche turned fourth-and-4 into a first down inside the 20. Two plays later, Idleman scored on a 16-yard burst to make it 14-0 with 9:15 to play in the game.
Comanche took it’s next drive into Davis territory before the Wolves stiffened. Jake Britt quickly diagnosed a screen pass on second down. He knifed through the blocker and made a great tackle for a five-yard loss to force third-and-9. Then, two more incompletions produced yet another turnover on downs.
Davis’ next drive was another debacle that fans blamed on the officials. A penalty after the first down play led to the Wolves running its next two plays with the down box reflecting the wrong down. As Davis broke the huddle for what it thought was third-and-long, the down box was changed to fourth down with a running play already called for fourth-and-21.
A short gain brought a turnover on downs and lots of yelling on the Davis sideline.
Comanche capitalized on the opportunity with a 78-yard touchdown drive. Quarterback Kooper Doucet completed four of five passes for 65 yards and then scrambled for a 13-yard touchdown run to get his team back in the game.
Davis stopped the two-point run and maintained a 14-6 advantage with just 3:07 to play.
The Wolves recovered an onside kick, but were forced to punt three plays later. It looked like Lane Rawls had sealed the win with a 24-yard run a fake punt, but the play was wiped out by a holding penalty. Davis punted again and Comanche took over at its own 24 yard-line with 1:10 left in the game.
Kavan Bolding came up with a huge sack on first down, but Comanche connected on a 30-yard pass the next play to get the ball to the Davis 47. After forcing an incompletion on first down, Jake Parker produced another with great coverage on second down.
It looked like Comanche was going to hit a big play on third down until Caraway ripped the ball out of the receiver’s hand at the last second. A completion would have put the ball at the Davis 11 yard-line with seven seconds remaining.
Instead, Comanche had to launch a Hail Mary on the last play of the game, which was batted down at the goal-line by freshman, Luke Linville as time expired. Fittingly, the last play of the game resulted in the ninth turnover on downs on the night.
“I don’t think our guys played just as hard on first, second and third down as they did on the fourth downs,” coach Parker said after the game. “You learn a whole lot from games like that. Our guys still know they can better and they’re gonna have to better in the games that we have coming.”
With the win, Davis improved to 4-1 at the midway point of the season and is tied atop the district standings with Marlow and Frederick. This Friday, Davis will host the 2-3 Lindsay Leopards fresh off a 45-6 loss to Marlow.
Lindsay has beaten Davis for three consecutive years with the Wolves looking to flip the script in 2021. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Wolf Field.
Team 1 2 3 4 – F
Davis 8 0 0 6 – 14
Comanche 0 0 0 6 – 6
D – Brendan Rawls 9 run. (Rawls run), 8-0
D – Jeston Idleman 16 run. (kick blocked), 14-0
C – Kooper Doucet 13 run. (run failed), 14-6
12 First Downs 12
331 Total Offense 341
0/2/0 Comp./att./int. 15/30/2
58-331 Rushes-yds. 31-150
0 Passing Yards 191
0-0 Fumbles-lost 3-2
8-70 Penalties-yds. 6-67
3-34.7 Punts-avg. 2-36