By Shane Bennett
A tight, back-and-forth game was tied at 14 with 7 minutes to play. Then Lindsay put up a pair of late touchdowns after Davis turnovers and beat the Wolves, 26-14 at Wolf Field on Oct. 8.
The game was close and hard-fought for three quarters but three Davis turnovers in the final seven minutes were the difference to give the Red-and-White its first district loss.
A five-yard loss on the fifth play of the game, produced a third-and-long and the Wolves ended up punting on the game’s opening possession.
Lindsay then wasted no time, marching 73 yards on five plays to score the first touchdown. The Leopards added a 15-yard run to pass plays of 11 and 12 yards to cross midfield. Then, a perfectly thrown deep ball from quarterback Cache Barrett hit Andon Register in stride in the endzone to ring up the scoreboard.
Trailing 7-0, Davis responded with a long drive of it’s own, but ended with a fumble instead of a score. The Wolves went 42 yards on 10 plays before a fumble in the backfield was recovered by the visitors.
The Leopards’ passing game gave Davis problems early as they completed four of their first six attempts, before Davis stepped up in the defensive secondary. After that, the Leopards completed just four of their last 15 throws.
Davis forced two straight punts by Lindsay and then the offense put together its most impressive drive of the night. The drive started with a 16-yard run by quarterback Tuff Hammons and then Jeston Idleman added a 20-yard sprint two plays later into Lindsay territory. Jake Parker took over at quarterback midway through the drive and added a 12-yard run down to the Lindsay 24.
Parker added a 16-yard touchdown run three plays later, but an officiating mistake wiped the points off the board. The fake to fullback Lane Rawls was so effective that everyone bought it . . . . including a referee, who inadvertently blew his whistle. Since players are coached to stop on the whistle, officials deemed the play to be over where the runner was when the whistle blew.
The hometown fans, players and coaches were livid and let the officials know. The rage was short-lived, though, as officials spotted the ball at the five yard-line and Parker ran it in from there on the next play. Trouble with the snap and hold led to a missed extra point kick and Davis still trailed, 7-6 with 3:44 left in the first half.
Lindsay came close to sneaking in another score before halftime on its next drive. They marched 46 yards on 11 plays down to the Davis 16. Barrett took off on a scramble on third-and-7, but Tye Barnett closed fast and forced him out of bounds for no gain. Lindsay then settled for a 32-yard field goal, but missed it, wide right.
By halftime, Davis had 11 first downs to Lindsay’s 8, while the Leopards produced 188 yards of offense to just 159 for the Wolves. Davis struggled throughout the night with an inside running game by Lindsay, and a runner that was tough to bring down.
“They had a good scheme against us,” admitted Davis head coach Greg Parker after the game. “We adjusted to what they were doing and then they attacked us with passes after we adjusted. It was a cat and mouse game.”
The second half started with Davis making another defensive stand in it’s own territory. Great pass defense by Hammons on third-and-three saw him nearly intercept the ball. Then Davis got the stop for a 12-yard loss on fourth down and took over at its own 45.
Unfortunately, the next play saw the first of three lost fumbles in the second half. Lindsay took over at the Davis 44 and the Wolves nearly picked off another pass on the first play. This time it was Barnett driving on a short pass and nearly coming up with an incredible interception. After that, Lindsay threw just three passes the rest of the night.
Six straight runs, though, took the visitors into the endzone. By the end of the drive, the Leopards had run 14 of the first 15 plays of the second half, wearing the Davis defense down and increasing its lead to 8, 14-6.
Once again, the Wolves answered. The Davis kick return team produced some splash. Brendan Rawls muffed the catch on the kickoff and then scooped up the ball and took off. He picked up a block from Barnett, broke a tackle and raced down the sideline for a 36-yard return to the Lindsay 38.
“Our special teams played really well in this game,” coach Parker said later.
Jake Parker took over the drive with four of the last five carries on the drive, including the nine-yard touchdown run. He then added the two-point conversion run to tie the game with 3:44 to play in the third quarter.
“It didn’t shock me at all that our players kept playing hard and coming back every time we fell behind,” coach Parker said. “They’ve been doing that all year.”
After the touchdown, both teams traded punts, then Lindsay looked to take the lead. The Leopards started at their own 49 and moved to the Davis 15, before the Wolf defense stiffened. Gavin Moore broke through the line and plastered the Lindsay runner for a one-yard loss to set up third-and-long. Then, Idleman came up with a huge interception at the four yard-line on the next play.
Davis took over with 6:57 to play, facing the chance to drive 96 yards for the go-ahead score. Instead, it was Lindsay that came up with a big play.
A defensive lineman stunted on third down and blindsided the Davis backs right as they were reading the handoff. The ball popped up in the air and a Leopard defender caught it and took it to the one yard-line. Lindsay scored two plays later to take the lead.
It was a devastating blow, but the game wasn’t over yet. Jake Britt came racing around the end to block the extra point kick and keep the lead to just six. That gave Davis the chance to win the game in regulation.
D15 returned the kickoff out to the Davis 40 for good starting field position with 5:57 left in the game. After a six-yard run by Brendan Rawls, Davis ran for 9 yards on the next play to pick up a first down in Lindsay territory . . . . except it wasn’t. As the Davis runner went down, the ball came out and officials ruled it a fumble, recovered by the visitors.
It was the fifth fumble of the night for Davis. The Wolves lost four of them and finished the game -4 in the turnover margin.
“The most important part of the game isn’t the plays, it’s the ball,” coach Parker explained after the game. “Just about every game you watch at every level, if its close, the team who wins the turnover battle almost always wins the game.”
Lindsay took over at its own 43 and picked up a first down at the Davis 41. Britt registered a tackle-for-loss on first down. Then Lane Rawls led a swarm of defenders to notch another loss on the next play and produced a third-and-14. Lindsay dialed up one last pass on a run-pass option play and it went for 16 yards and a crucial first down.
Two plays later, Lindsay runningback Jakub Vaughn raced 24 yards for a touchdown to put the game out of reach. Vaughn was tough for the Wolves to tackle all night. He led all ball carriers with 34 carries for 192 of the Leopards 199 rushing yards on the night.
For Davis, turnovers led to the Wolves running just 18 total plays in the second half, to 38 for Lindsay. After amassing 11 first downs in the first half, Davis managed to earn just two after intermission.
With the loss, Davis fell to 4-2 on the season, 2-1 in district play. The road won’t get any easier this week, either. Davis will travel to Marlow to face an undefeated Outlaw team fresh off a 42-7 clobbering of Coalgate. The game will be Thursday due to fall break, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Team 1 2 3 4 – F
Davis 0 6 8 0 – 14
Lindsay 7 0 7 12 – 26
L – Andon Register 40 pass from Cache Barrett. (Ty Ferguson kick), 0-7
D – Jake Parker 5 run. (kick failed), 6-7
L – Jakub Vaughn 7 run. (Ferguson kick), 6-14
D – Parker 9 run. (Parker run), 14-14
L – Vaughn 4 run. (kick blocked), 14-20
L – Vaughn 24 run. (pass failed), 14-26
13 First Downs 17
202 Total Offense 333
0/2/1 Comp./att./int. 8/21/1
51-202 Rushes-yds. 43-199
0 Passing Yards 134
5-4 Fumbles-lost 3-0
1-2 Penalties-yds. 6-35
3-37.3 Punts-avg. 4-38.6