So far, so good.
After ringing up visiting Pioneer, 48-0, on Friday, Davis High cruised through its pre-Delta League schedule unbeaten.
A massive, veteran Blue Devil line had been able to control Grant, Cordova and Woodland before doing the same to the emerging Patriots (2-1) in the last of the locals’ tuneups before getting to Delta League play this week at home versus Elk Grove.
The fourth straight impressive victory was dotted with even more good news for the team that has allowed just seven first downs in its last three outings.
Taylor Vaughn, the senior tailback who rushed for 922 yards in 2018 (and had 163 in beating Grant in the opener), returned from an ankle injury. Vaughn had missed the last two games, but on Friday he proved to be back in form.
Gaining 90 yards in just five carries, Vaughn dazzled the Ron & Mary Brown Stadium crowd with a 62-yard scoring dash to start the second half.
The scamper was a thing of beauty. Playing off a Kieffer Jones block in the middle, Vaughn then cut left, broke a tackle at the sidelines and outran two Patriots defenders to pay dirt. He also scored from 7-yards out earlier.
“It was great to have Taylor back,” DHS head coach Steve Smyte told The Enterprise. “We just seem to play with more confidence with him in there — but Aaron Turner’s been playing just lights out as well. To have those two as a 1-2 combination? I’m loving it.”
While Davis foes are hating it …
Turner, a junior pressed into service when Taylor went down, gained 111 yards in nine tries Friday, including touchdown runs of 44 and 20 yards.
For the year, Turner has gained 560 yards and scored nine times. He’s averaging 10 yards a carry. By all standards, a good “backup” to have.
“I’m excited about that backfield,” added Smyte.
But Vaughn and Turner understand where their success has started — that studly offensive line. Both have repeatedly praised and thanked their convoy members for, as Vaughn once said, “making us look good.”
On this night, the O-line started Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan, Kel Williams, Jones, Patton Miller and Aidan Minamiji. The fun began early on when Turner busted loose for his 44-yard TD run at 6:50 of the first period.
And the Blue Devils kept pouring it on.
Of their next six scoring “drives,” the longest Davis possessed the ball was 57 seconds. After Vaughn broke off his big run, the score was 41-0 with just 45 seconds gone in the third quarter. The continuous mercy clock then began to run.
Quarterback Luke Carrell was once again in control. He completed 4 of 9 passes for 137 yards and three more TDs — two to Ben Busano of 28 and 38 yards and a 39-yarder to Xavier Chambers.
Everywhere one looks, these Devil have jaw-dropping season statistics …
* Carrell, who missed one game in concession protocol, has throw for 502 yards and eight touchdowns against only one pick.
* Busano has caught 11 passes for 411 yards. Seven of his grabs have gone for touchdowns. Against Pioneer, he had two catches for 66 yards and his two scores.
* All-Delta linebacker Zach Brooks added 13 tackles against the Pats, now owning 41 in the four games.
* The Blue Devils have outscored opponents 196-13 thus far.
* Davis didn’t allow a completed pass in a game for the first time in 66 years.
Pioneer, a Division III school, had scored 84 points in wins over Armijo and Johnson. But against Davis, coach Anthony Laws’ charges broke their pick trying to mine the stout Blue Devil defensive front seven.
The Patriots gained 73 yards on 36 carries. Pioneer’s longest play from scrimmage was a 12-yard run from Colby Humphries. Only twice did the visitors venture into Davis territory.
As entertaining as the Blue Devil start has been, it’s time for Davis to see how this all this success translates to a talent-laden Delta League slate.
First up is Elk Grove. The Thundering Herd is 2-1, coming off a 50-14 victory over Shasta. Its loss was 34-32 to unbeaten Indekum.
Smyte is undeterred with the shift in competition level.
“I think we can play with anybody,” he says. “We are where we’re supposed to be right now.”
Notes: Vaughn was asked about his return. “It feels good,” said the senior. “I still have a lot to work, to be honest. But just being back with the team, being back on the field is what I care about the most. I don’t really care about yards, touchdowns anymore. I just want to be back with my team. That’s what means the most.” … From the Getting Ahead of Ourselves Dept.: The last time a DHS squad went unbeaten was 1956, when the Devils were 9-0 under coach Dewey Halden (for whom the Davis playing field is named). … Smyte says Payne Barksdale — one of the more exciting players in all the Sac-Joaquin Section — could be back this week. Barksdale suffered a shoulder injury in a scrimmage last month and has not played yet in 2019. … UC Davis defensive coordinator Robert Tucker was on hand Friday. He and Smyte were assistants together at Boise State (Tucker working the DBs and Smyte handling receivers). “We went against each other every day,” Smyte laughed. “Every day in practice.” … Junior varsity QB Trajan Clark scored twice, Lukas Smith put one in the end zone and Jude Vaughn scored on 81– and 61-yard jaunts, but Pioneer prevailed Friday, 58-36.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or call 530-320-4456.