Sometimes, familiarity does breed contempt, especially if you’re a linebacker seeing basically the same play for the 30th time in a football game and aren’t sure what else you can do to stop it.
It doesn’t if you’re a Hilliard Davidson High School fan who has watched your team run to two Division I state championships and climb to the top of the pecking order in central Ohio football during the past decade.
And it doesn’t for this old-school football fan, who never gets tired of watching linemen smack each other in the mouth as one 4-yard gain begets another, and another, and another.
The Wildcats’ 15-6 victory over Upper Arlington in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal Saturday, Nov. 12 at DeSales didn’t contain too many surprises. Davidson didn’t throw a pass other than on a two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter. Senior running back Alex Mickley carried 41 times for 210 yards and two touchdowns as the team amassed 255 yards on the ground, and the Wildcats foiled all but one of the handful of quality chances UA had to score.
The Golden Bears were held to 182 total yards, 154 of them passing.
Every time I’ve heard the sentiment “that quarterback’s probably never taken a snap from under center in his life” — and it’s been way too often for my tastes — the Midwestern, wing-T-loving, smash-them-in-the-face fan in me cringes.
I’m not the only one, it seems.
“You just try to get those 3-yard runs and eventually you’re going to break one,” Mickley said. “That’s what we did in the first quarter. We just started wearing them down.”
It showed, especially by the fourth quarter when Mickley carried on 16 consecutive offensive plays.
“It’s always the combination of the defense doing its job until the offense can break through,” Davidson coach Brian White said. “I heard (UA) coach (Mike) Golden give us a big compliment the other night on the radio. He said our offense, our defense and our special teams complement each other so well, and that’s what we obviously try and do.”
The game was only the fourth this year in which Davidson has allowed points. The Wildcats shut out five opponents during the regular season, allowed seven points each to their three toughest opponents – Dublin Coffman, UA and Hilliard Darby – and six Saturday night.
“They’ve given up 27 points this year, and 13 of them have been against us,” UA coach Mike Golden said, able to chuckle some after the loss but still disappointed that his team couldn’t find the tonic to beat Davidson three weeks after finishing with minus-32 yards rushing in a 25-7 loss.
Golden Bears running back Ryan McSheffery summed up what he thinks is the key to Davidson’s success on defense.
“They cut off the lead blockers right away and their linebackers find exactly what they have to on pulling and isolation plays,” said McSheffery, one of 25 UA seniors. “They get exactly where they need to be at the right time.”
Yet no team in this area this year has stopped it.
Perhaps nothing has been so maddening and elegant at the same time since Elizabeth Taylor, and even Richard Burton figured her out well enough to marry her twice.
Next week, we get the Region 3 Super Bowl most observers anticipated.
Hilliard Davidson against Pickerington Central, site to be announced.
Old versus new. Tried-and-true, not-so-diverse against tried-and-true, everyone gets a piece of the action.
We’ll find out what beats what, not that the result would change either team’s modus operandi.
“You dance with the one that brung you,” the old saying goes. And once you’ve found the one who’s right for you, don’t let her go.