DAVIS — Davis’ football class of 2013 may have been the fastest the school has ever seen. When those players graduated, it was said the speed was leaving with them.
Most of it at least.
Blake Summers scored on offense, defense and special teams and Class 2A No. 1 Davis won its sixth consecutive meeting against Sulphur 32-14 Friday at Wolf Field.
When he had a sliver of daylight, Summers simply couldn’t be caught in any phase of the game. He scored on a touchdown run of 70 yards, a 75-yard punt return and a 55-yard interception return for the Wolves. His punt return in the fourth quarter gave Davis (2-0) its first lead, deflating what up to that point was Sulphur’s best showing in the “Murray County War” in at least five years.
The Bulldogs (1-1) controlled the momentum up until Summers’ special teams showcase, and a quickly maturing Davis team kept its rival chasing ghosts once again.
“I think we grew up a lot today,” Davis coach Jody Weber said. “I’m proud we were able to stay close until we could make plays.”
Ryan Rackley was the key figure for Sulphur on offense, leading the Bulldogs with 133 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Despite committing 10 penalties for 70 yards in the first half, the Bulldogs led 7-6 at the break.
But Davis has become famous for its halftime adjustments, and the simplest one of all was to do a better job of stopping Rackley. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder bulled his way through Davis defenders and shed tackles with ease in the first half, but was held to 34 yards rushing after halftime.
In contrast, Rackley had four carries of 14 yards or more in the first half.
“He’s a bad matchup for most high school kids as big and strong as he is,” Weber said of Rackley. “In the second half, coach (Greg) Parker got our guys lined up to where they could play confident.
“Explosive plays ... you’ve got to limit them in the running game more than any other.”
Sulphur’s penalty-plagued first half and inability to finish drives proved costly, particularly when Davis’ started clicking after halftime.
“At halftime, we should have had a bigger lead, no doubt about that,” Sulphur coach Jim Dixon said. “But in the third quarter, we’re still ahead. They outplayed us big time in the fourth quarter.”
Rackley’s 5-yard score in the third gave Sulphur a 14-6 lead, but the Bulldogs began showing signs of wear. On the next drive, Summers broke off two long runs and Braden Ruth finished it off with a 14-yard TD run.
It wasn’t a particularly prolific game on the ground for Davis — the Wolves “only” rushed for 242 yards and lost two fumbles. But the diversity of scoring in the fourth quarter ensured Davis didn’t need too much from its offense.
Following Ruth’s touchdown, Davis stopped Sulphur on three plays, and Summers calmly fielded a punt at the Davis 25 off a couple of bounces.
The junior, one leg of Davis’ state championship 4x100-meter relay team, had a running start. He made his way to the Davis sideline and only had to make one more cut before the game was completely turned. Davis took a 20-14 lead after Ruth’s two-point conversion run.
“I’m hoping touchdown every time,” said Summers, who led Davis with 103 yards rushing on 16 carries. “It all depends on our blockers and they did really good tonight.”
Davis outscored Sulphur 26-0 in the fourth quarter, with Ruth (eight carries, 77 yards) finishing off the game with a 31-yard rushing touchdown. Rackley had 105 yards passing and Nate Johnson added 61 yards rushing.
Friday was a more balanced version compared to Sulphur-Davis games of late. The improvement of the Bulldogs kept Sulphur competitive until late in the game.
Tanner Watson missed last year’s contest due to injury and was a force in his final Sulphur-Davis game, recording four catches for 33 yards and key tackles on defense. Nick Magruder also was out last year, and he paced Sulphur with two catches for 60 yards, and recovered a fumble on Friday.
At halftime, Davis only had 117 total yards of offense. Even in the loss, Sulphur brought some competitiveness back to the rivalry.
“Last year, they were really young. This year they really stepped it up,” said senior Paxton Killblane, a defensive standout for Davis on Friday. “They’re pretty stout and I expect them to be pretty good this year.”
Follow Horne on Twitter: @ekhorneARD