DAVIS — Jody Weber was in rare form this week.
For one, the Davis coach was fresh faced, his thick beard shaven off after his team advanced past Adair in the Class 2A quarterfinals 34-33.
Weber also had more good things to say about his opponent than his Wolves.
"They do a lot of things well," Weber said of Vian. "They've got one of the top recruits in the state on the offensive line. They've got a 6-5 receiver. They've got size everywhere. They've got four or five different skill kids that they use. They've got a big tailback and a lot of scatbacks to go with him."
Anything else, coach?
"They throw it pretty well," Weber said. "Offensively, they do a lot pretty well. They overwhelm you on defense with their size and speed. We've just seen them in lopsided wins, so we'd like to see if we can get them in a game."
The buildup to the No 1. Vian vs. No. 2 Davis semifinal tonight has had a distinct vibe. It's left Davis supporters defending their seasoned group — playing in its second semifinal in two seasons. It's left Vian faithful confident that it team could be one of the finest to ever suit up in 2A.
Everyone in between seems to be picking the Wolverines. Their resume speaks for itself.
- Ranked No. 1 for most of the season, Vian (13-0) has outscored its opponents 819-70.
- They boast arguably the state's top lineman in 6-foot-3, 300-pound Tulsa commit Rob Boyd.
- Like Davis, Vian was rarely tested before the postseason. But the Wolverines are coming off of a 43-13 demolition of two-time defending state champion Hennessey in the quarterfinals.
Despite two excellent teams on the other side of the bracket in Frederick and Oklahoma Christian School, many have pegged the Vian-Davis winner as the front runner for the 2A title. Vian leads that discussion.
"I wouldn't consider ourselves underdogs, but I'm not going to be cocky about it either," Davis senior lineman Kaleb Fisher said. "We're gonna go in, play as hard as we can and play Davis Wolves football."
The last and only Davis-Vian game to Weber's knowledge was also a semifinal. Vian defeated Davis 34-27 in 2006.
Late in that game, Davis had a long run to the Vian 2-yard line taken off the board on a penalty. Vian went on to lose narrowly to Millwood in the state championship game.
"It was the last time that they were kinda the consensus No. 1 team and hadn't been played close all year, just like this year," Weber said. "It was probably as contested as a football game can be, and I think this can be the same."
Page 2 of 2 - Weber said that an advantage for Davis is that they can still play better. The Wolves have gotten out of the gate slow in each of their last two games. Watching his players practice from afar on Wednesday, Weber thought the kids had something to prove to themselves.
It's a rare day in Oklahoma. Davis is an underdog, out to topple what many believe is the rightful heir to Hennessey's two-year reign.
"We don't feel like an underdog," Weber said. "I know from the outside looking in we certainly are. I guess in some people's minds, if we go up there and do what we're supposed to do it'll be an upset. But it won't be an upset to us."
Erik K. Horne