DAVIS DEFENSE worked hard all night against the Panthers. #33 Rance Digby, #78 Kolton Rawls, #1 Dakota Carter, and #56 Mason Tomlinson pounced on a Panther’s attempt to carry the ball in the first half that Davis easily dominated. The second half wasn’t as easy for the Wolves. The Wolves face the Sulphur Bulldogs Friday. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. at Wolf Field. (Photo by Lydia Garrison)
By Jeff Mapes
The Davis Wolves led Pauls Valley on Friday night at Wolf Field for most of the game until the end when it mattered the most. The Panthers overcame a 17-point deficit with three scores in the fourth quarter to defeat Davis 33-29.
The comeback was complete when Panther quarterback Tanner Perry connected with Jorge Fabela for a 12-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds left. Davis took an early lead in the first quarter and held the advantage for just under 44 minutes until the go-ahead game clincher.
“I’m sure it was an entertaining game,” Wolves head coach Greg Parker said. “Our kids played hard the entire night. I’m proud of them, there’s no doubt.”
The loss spoils the Wolves’ season opener and Homecoming 2023. Junior Cayden Buckaloo was crowned as this year’s queen prior to kick off during the coronation ceremony.
Davis took the opening kickoff and drove 49 yards in seven plays to the Panther 17. Luke Linville ran for 13 yards to the PV 36 and Brenden Rawls followed with a 19-yard carry.
Linville’s pass attempt at the goal line was tipped and intercepted. Pauls Valley took over at the one-yard line, but Perry was tackled for a safety on the first play. The Wolves led 2-0 at the 8:43 mark.
Davis then took the free kick and drove 49 yards in five plays for its first touchdown. Rawls scored his first of two TDs on a 29-yard run with 6:04 still in the first. Linville ran for the conversion and the lead grew to 10-0.
Pauls Valley fumbled twice in the first half. The second, with 8:43 before halftime, set up the Wolves’ second touchdown deep in Panther territory.
Idleman, Linville and Rawls combined to get it to the PV one in four plays. Rawls posted his second score with 6:47 remaining on a one-yard run. Levi Pullen’s extra point was missed, and Davis was in charge 16-0.
“I thought we played really well in the first half,” Parker said. “I thought all phases of the game were pretty sharp. We executed well on offense, and our defense, we tackled well. We were chasing the ball really well.”
Rawls had 89 yards rushing in the first half. The junior finished with 114 yards on 20 carries.
Pauls Valley was shut out until late in the second quarter. The Panthers marched 65 yards in eight plays.
Halfback Rayne Major carried four times for 30 yards in the series. Perry found Jon Grimmett for a six-yard touchdown pass with 2:30 before intermission. The conversion failed but PV was on the board at 16-6.
That touchdown was the start of five straight possessions where the Panthers scored. Pauls Valley scored on all four of its series in the second half.
Davis capped off the first half with a drive that covered 65 yards and consumed the final 2:29. Rawls ran four times for 21 yards. The Panthers were flagged for pass interference.
With one second remaining Knapp took an option pitch from Gage Coppenbarger and raced 20 yards for the score. The conversion failed and Davis led at halftime 22-6.
The Wolves ran for 191 yards and eight first downs in the first half. Davis was limited to 92 yards of offense and three first downs after halftime.
Pauls Valley opened the second half with a scoring drive of 67 yards in seven plays. Perry went 3-3 in the series with the third coming on a 53-yard strike to Maddex Prince with 8:06 left in the third. Davis led 22-12 after the conversion failed.
The Panthers had 213 yards in the second half. Perry contributed, going 12-16 for 139 yards and two scores.
The Wolves earned their largest margin of the game on the next series. Davis enjoyed a three-score advantage when Linville hit Dakota Carter for a 47-yard touchdown with 2:49 in the third. Pullen tacked on the extra point and Davis led 29-12.
Pauls Valley answered on its next possession with the first of three fourth-quarter scores. Perry ran for 24 yards on three carries and snuck in from the two with 9:52 remaining. Pablo Amaya kicked the extra point, and the lead was cut to 29-19.
“The second half wasn’t so great,” Parker said. “We didn’t execute as well. We didn’t tackle as well, and we didn’t cover as well. Our kids played hard the entire night. They (PV) played a little different style of defense in the second half.”
“They had the ball most of the second half,” Parker continued. “That’s what we’ve done to them the last two years. We’ve kept the ball the whole game and we were unable to do that.”
The biggest break of the game came on the ensuing kickoff. The Panthers recovered an onside kick and maintained possession at the Wolves’ 28.
Perry hit Prince for a 16-yard completion at the 19. Major pulled PV within one score with his one-yard touchdown run with 6:23 remaining. Amaya again kicked the extra point.
“When you give the ball right back to them when they’ve got the momentum, it makes it tougher and tougher,” Parker said. “Onside kicks are like a blocked punt or an interception. It’s huge. It’s a big momentum thing.”
Davis took over at its 47 with 6:23 left but was forced to punt eight plays later after gaining one first down. The Panthers then embarked on the game-winning drive.
Starting at its own 28, it took the Panthers 1:58 to drive 72 yards in 10 plays. PV went exclusively through the air with Perry going 6-9. His favorite target was Prince who caught four passes for 45 yards.
The Wolves were charged with pass interference then Perry hooked up with Fabela for the score. Amaya kicked the extra point for the 33-29 final.
Grimmett finished the game picking off Knapp’s pass at the Panther 44 with six seconds left.
Davis, now 0-1, will host rival Sulphur in the annual Murray County Bedlam. Game time has again been pushed back to 8:00. The Bulldogs are also 0-1 after losing 35-10 against defending 2A state champion Washington.
Team 1 2 3 4 – F
Davis 10 12 7 0 – 29
Pauls Valley 0 6 6 21 – 33
D- Rawls 29 run (Linville conversion)
D- Rawls 1 run (conv. failed)
PV- Grimmett 6 pass from Perry (conv. failed)
D- Knapp 20 run (conv. failed)
PV- Prince 53 pass from Perry (conv. failed)
D- Carter 47 pass from Linville (Pullen kick)
PV- Perry 2 run (Amaya kick)
PV- Major 1 run (Amaya kick)
PV- Fabela 12 pass from Perry (Amaya kick)
Davis Pauls Valley
11 First Downs 15
287 Total Yds 298
22:46 Time of Poss 25:14
46-236 Rushes-yds. 33-146
2-7-2-51 Passing Yds 14-22-0-152
2 Turnovers 2
12-113 Penalties-yds. 7-75
Rushing- Brenden Rawls 20-114, Luke Linville 8-35, Dee Idleman 6-29, Seth Knapp 2-28, Dakota Carter 1-13, Rance Digby 1-7, Tye Barnett 5-6, Jaxson Bonner 2-5 and Gage Coppenbarger 1 (-1).
Passing- Linville 2-7-1-51 and Knapp 0-1-1.
Receiving- Carter 1-47 and Braxdyn Griffin 1-4.