Unbeaten Davis gets first of many potential challenges in Class 2A
DAVIS — Ask the Davis Wolves the last time they were tested on the football field, and a group of five seniors all has the same reply.
Some hold up three fingers. Others just say "week 3" or "Heritage Hall," but it's unanimous. The Wolves haven't played a four-quarter contest in two months.
In contrast, Friday's second-round game against Millwood will be anything but a pushover. The rematch with Millwood will be the most difficult step thus far in Davis' quest for its first state title appearance since 2010.
"We've all been real focused on the task at hand this week: getting a little revenge," senior lineman Riley Wilson said.
For being two of 2A's most tradition-rich programs, Davis and Millwood have only played three times, with the Falcons winning each contest. Millwood won last year's second-round playoff game 20-7, in the process eliminating a Davis team that had title aspirations.
Prior to last year's loss, Millwood last played Davis in the state championship in 2000 — the first of three consecutive state titles for the Falcons. Millwood's only setback this season was way back in week 6 — a 22-18 defeat by Oklahoma Christian School.
The Falcons (10-1) return a majority of their lineup from last year.
"At this point last year, they were better than us," Davis coach Jody Weber said of Millwood. "And with the exception of two players, they're intact. We lost two really good players, too, so it's gonna be a wash.
"On a given night, they're capable of beating a lot of people and so are we."
Davis (11-0) had beaten everyone so far, not allowing more than 19 points in a game along the way. The Wolves' run defense, led by a stout defensive line rotation of seniors Ryder McCaskill, Kaleb Fisher and Wilson, will be in the crosshairs tonight against Millwood's running game.
Weber said he thinks Davis is better against the run than last year, starting with McCaskill, who doubles as a starting offensive lineman.
McCaskill, one of various three-year starters for Davis, said the Wolves' experience over that time should prepare them for anything.
"We've seen it all," he said. "I don't think they can come at us with anything we can't stop."
Even with a redemptive win on Friday, Davis' road back to the state championship won't be easy. The Wolves are in the top half of the 2A bracket with Hennessey and Vian, all contenders for the state title.
The winner of Millwood-Davis will play the winner of Okemah-Adair on the road in the quarterfinals.
"Our side of the bracket is loaded," Weber said. "Between us and Millwood, in whatever poll you're looking at, we've both been ranked No. 1 at some point in the year. Vian is kinda the consensus (No. 1) over the year; Hennessey is the two-time defending champion.
"I know some of those teams can play, and there's a lot of good playoff experience over here. Whoever comes out of our bracket is gonna have to earn it."
Erik K. Horne