By Jeff Mapes
Wolves fans, wait no longer. it’s here! It is football season once again in Davis! The Wolves kick off the 2022 campaign Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Pauls Valley.
Davis is working to improve on its 7-4 record from a year ago. The Wolves finished third in the district and were defeated by CCS 54-33 in the first round of the playoffs. CCS has eliminated Davis the past two seasons. The Wolves are also hoping to notch their first playoff win since 2017. Davis topped Holland Hall 28-27 at home in overtime that year.
Seven seniors will lead this year’s squad. Those seniors include Jake Parker, Malaki White, Lane Rawls, Hunter Toops, Brody Rogers, Kobe England and Brady Greenlee.
There is excitement for the new season. The Wolves return 10 starters from a year ago, five on each side of the ball.
Head coach Greg Parker has been impressed so far with his team’s work ethic. Parker is entering his fifth season as the Wolves’ coach.
“Their willingness to do what we want them to do,” said Coach Parker when referring to the team’s strengths. “We’ve got kids on both sides of the ball, up front and skilled kids, that have played before and a lot that haven’t. Our kids are confident and working hard. I think that’s a strength.”
Jake Parker will again lead the offense at quarterback. Jake Parker took over as starter in game 8 last year after starting quarterback Tuff Hammons suffered a broken leg against Marlow.
“I think Jake did good, just like the rest of the kids,” Parker said. “Tuff had to be replaced in a lot of places and when Jake had to replace Tuff, somebody had to replace Jake. That’s just the game and they all did a great job because they want to play.”
Davis will remain in the flexbone offense and Coach Parker will rely on several players who can help with the Wolves’ running game. Rawls returns at fullback. From there, the list of possible halfbacks is long. “We’ve got so many halfbacks,” said Coach Parker. “It’s a neat thing. We’ve got several kids in our backfield that can play multiple positions.” Parker listed Seth Knapp and White, as well as Tyson Moss, Rance Digby and Luke Linville at the position.
“We have halfbacks that can play fullback and we have a fullback that can play halfback,” said Coach Parker. “Both of our quarterbacks (Jake Parker and Linville) can play halfback and that’s good. The majority of those kids are going to be playing defense and they need to be able to get rest and breaks during the game.”
The Wolves must replace four starting linemen from a year ago. Back to anchor the line is England, Mason Tomlinson and tight end Spencer Clinton. “They’re all new,” said Coach Parker of his line. “That’s the hardest position on our football team to play. There’s always growing pains with an experienced offensive line at the beginning of the season. These guys are doing a great job. They’re learning and they’re well coached. They’re going to get better each week.”
On defense, the Wolves will look to Rawls for his leadership. He returns at middle linebacker. “Lane (Rawls) has played the most,” said Parker. “We know what we’re going to get out of Lane. He has a great motor and he’s super intense. He’s a great teammate.”
In the defensive backfield, Coach Parker is counting on several returning players. White, Linville, Jake Parker and Trey Melton should contribute at safety, as well as Knapp, Dakota Carter, Dalton Hefley and Greenlee at cornerback.
“Defensively, we want to make sure we line up, we play physical and we chase the ball like crazy,” Coach Parker said. “We know teams are going to make plays, move the ball at times and have success. We just have to make sure we play our style of football.”
The Wolves look to be in the hunt for a district title in District 2A-4. Holdenville and Lexington are new to the league. Marietta, Coalgate and Tishomingo are familiar foes. Kingston and Atoka were once district rivals for Davis. “We don’t know much about our district,” Coach Parker said. “I expect Kingston to be really good and Atoka should be good. I know Marietta is going to be much improved and Tishomingo is going to be improved. I don’t know anything about Lexington or Holdenville. Coalgate lost some really good players, but I expect them to be better as well.”
“Everybody wants to be good right now,” Parker continued, “but what counts is where you’re at in the end and how well you’re playing. I have no doubt that if we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to be alright and tough. We won’t be a fun team to play if we continue to improve like we have these first several weeks.”
By Jeff Mapes