Davis is hard enough to beat when a team plays well. But when an opponent gives the Wolves three non-offensive touchdowns, it's nearly impossible, as Heritage Hall learned Friday night.
Blake Summers and Paxton Killblane each returned an interception for a touchdown and Hunter Karlik brought back a blocked punt for another score — all in the first half — and Davis, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A, rolled to a surprisingly easy 54-23 win over Class 3A No. 4-ranked Heritage Hall at Pop Murray Memorial Field.
Davis (3-0) used its famed wishbone attack to roll up 340 yards rushing, with Braden Ruth (15 carries, 101 yards, two touchdowns) and Keaton Williams (nine carries, 106 yards, one touchdown) carrying the heaviest loads for the Wolves, who lost in the 2A title game last season.
“We're a running football team,” Davis coach Jody Weber said. “We've got a kid who throws the ball pretty good most of the time and we've got some kids who can catch it, but for the most part, we always settle back and run the football.”
Heritage Hall (1-2) also put up big offensive numbers. Quarterback Connor McGinnis completed 20-of-37 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns, two of those to Domonique James, who had eight catches for 216 yards. But McGinnis also threw two interceptions, both of which came on balls initially tipped by Heritage Hall receivers.
Figuring they would need to outscore Davis, the Chargers unsuccessfully went for it on fourth down from its own 44 on its first series. Davis took advantage of the short field and scored on a 5-yard run by Williams.
The Chargers stopped Davis on downs at the Heritage Hall 1 on Davis' next series, but had to punt from their own 19. Ruth blasted through the line to block the kick and Karlik scooped up the football and easily scored to make it 14-0.
Michael McLaughlin's 26-yard field goal put Heritage Hall on the board, but after a failed onside kickoff by the Chargers, Davis quickly scored on a 13-yard run by Ruth.
Then came a pair of pick-sixes by the Wolves in a span of six plays. Summers grabbed a tipped pass at the Heritage Hall 25 and weaved through traffic into the end zone, making it 28-3 with 2:25 left. Killblane stepped in front of a deep pass by Michael McMullen at the Davis 32 and brought it back all the way with 29 seconds left in the half to give the Wolves a 34-3 bulge.
“I think that was our sixth defensive touchdown this year,” Weber said. “Where we lack in size, we're pretty opportunistic, because most of our kids run pretty good.”
Heritage Hall scored before halftime, on a 27-yard pass from McGinnis to James, but the damage was done. The Wolves opened the second half with a 5½-minute touchdown drive. A 76-yard McGinnis-to-James touchdown pulled Heritage Hall within 41-17 and the Chargers then drove to the Davis 9, but Summers intercepted another tipped pass at the goal line.
Ruth said the lopsided win will give the Wolves' newcomers confidence that they have what is necessary for another successful season, which in Davis means a deep playoff run.
“We come right at you,” Ruth said. “Our line did a good job of blocking and opening up the holes for the running backs. “