MIDWEST CITY — How do you stop one of the highest-scoring teams in state history? Take the football away and don't give it back.
That was the successful formula for Davis on Friday night against Vian. The Wolves turned three of Vian's seven turnovers into touchdowns and dominated the Wolverines on both sides of the ball en route to a methodical 22-0 win at Rose Field in a Class 2A semifinal.
Davis (14-0) will face Oklahoma Christian School next week in the 2A championship game, while Vian — which scored 821 points this season — closes at 13-1. Davis will be seeking its fifth state title but its first since 1995.
Because of the shutout, Vian lost its status as the highest-scoring team in state history. Frederick, which lost 55-32 to OCS in the other 2A semifinal, finished with 822 points on the season, one more than the Wolverines.
The Wolves' game plan — control the clock with their wishbone offense and take advantage of Vian's mistakes — couldn't have been executed any better. Davis' first touchdown drive took 4:46 off the clock and the Wolves' decisive scoring march — covering 93 yards — lasted for 7:58 and didn't end until eight seconds remained in the third quarter.
“We played great defense, but you've got to keep the ball from them,” Davis coach Jody Weber said. “They have too many weapons. Our kids never quit playing. They never sat on it. They came with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder. We didn't play good defense last week, and we were playing against the number one scoring team in the state. I think they came to play.”
Davis' offensive numbers weren't spectacular — 231 yards and 10 first downs — but proved to be more than enough against a Vian team that couldn't get out of its own way.
On the Wolverines' first two plays, quarterback Landon Decker fumbled, then threw an interception. He finished 2-of-9 passing for 13 yards with four interceptions before exiting. His replacement, Rylee Simon, didn't fare much better, completing 5-of-12 passes for 47 yards with two interceptions.
Vian managed only 176 yards of offense after entering the game averaging 399.6 yards per game. Coach Brandon Tyler said the Wolverines didn't show the same intensity they had a week earlier in dismantling two-time defending champion Hennessey.
“We were looking forward to that Hennessey game for a year,” Tyler said. “They got what they wanted there. We were kind of flat all week. … We knew that was going to be the big issue, was trying to get our kids' heads back up. We kind of played flat tonight.
“We knew coming in our possessions were going to be limited and we had to take advantage of every one. When you keep turning the ball over and keep giving them opportunities, you can't do that against a good football team.”
Davis' quarterback, Alec Hetherington, rushed 23 times for 61 yards and a touchdown and completed 3-of-6 passes for 54 yards, including a nifty 30-yard jump pass for a touchdown to Michael Nowden. On defense, Hetherington had two interceptions, as did Dedrien Nowden.
“We knew we had to play forward,” Weber said. “We had to play aggressive. … We just had to play our game the entire game and not sit back on our heels and let them get going.”
Dedrien Nowden's interception on Vian's second offensive play and returned it to the Vian 32. From there, the Wolves twice converted on fourth down before scoring on a 2-yard keeper by Hetherington with 4:45 left in the first quarter.
The Wolverines stopped Davis on downs at the Vian 15 early in the second quarter, but they couldn't move the football. Vian's best chance to score came after a Davis punt that went for minus-2 yards and set the Wolverines up at their own 45. They reached the Davis 34 before Eric Casey fumbled and Chase Taliaferro recovered for the Wolves.
Davis went three-and-out, but on the first play after the punt, Hetherington, playing defensive back, intercepted Decker and returned it to the Vian 30. On the next play, Hetherington did his best Tim Tebow imitation with the jump pass to Michael Nowden, who cruised into the end zone 54 seconds before halftime. Hetherington and Nowden connected again on a 2-point conversion pass.
Decker almost single-handedly marched Vian down to the Davis 13 to start the second half, but Dedrien Nowden ended that threat with an interception at the Davis 7. The Wolves then put together a 14-play scoring drive, capped by a 28-yard touchdown run by Blake Summers.
The Wolves played most of the game without leading rusher Deaundre' Carr, who was injured in the first half and didn't return after carrying once for one yard.