A formula of controlling the clock, playing mistake-free and being solid on special teams helped the Hilliard Davidson High School football team win its first 11 games this season.
Those same components, combined with the element of surprise, helped the Wildcats beat Pickerington North 20-7 in a second-round Division I, Region 2 playoff game Nov. 16 at Gahanna.
Davidson had thrown the ball just 24 times heading into the game, but quarterback Nick Iske hooked up with Phillipie Motley for touchdowns of 50 and 80 yards against the Panthers despite attempting only three passes.
The win moved the Wildcats to 12-0 and into a regional semifinal Nov. 23 against Huber Heights Wayne, while North finished 10-2.
“You have to pick the time and place (to pass),” Davidson coach Brian White said.
For the Wildcats, the first time they went to the air came with 8 minutes, 59 seconds left in the opening quarter on Motley’s 50-yard scoring reception.
The Panthers used a long pass to tie it at 7 when quarterback Zeph Miller hit running back Jabree Lather for a 63-yard touchdown with 1:32 left in the first half.
North appeared on the verge of taking the lead when Miller was tackled for an 8-yard loss on the first play of the fourth quarter, knocking his team back to the Davidson 33. Karch Holland then missed a 50-yard field goal.
On the next play, Iske connected with Motley in the middle of the field and Motley sprinted for an 80-yard touchdown that made it 14-7.
Miller was intercepted by Parker Foard on North’s first play from scrimmage after the score, and Davidson scored on the ensuing possession when kicker Robert LeFevre made a 44-yard field goal to push the lead to 17-7 with 8:44 remaining. LeFevre later made a 45-yard field goal as well.
“That was a perfect (throw on the second touchdown pass),” Motley said. “We’ve been practicing it all week.”
D.D. Clark rushed 35 times for 101 yards for Davidson, which held the ball for 32:27 compared to just 15:33 for North.
Miller completed nine of 22 passes for 164 yards with one touchdown, but there were several snaps that hit the ground out of the shotgun.
“All of the scores were on big plays and turnovers,” North coach Tom Phillips said.
HD--Motley 50 pass from Iske (Johns kick)
PN--Lather 63 pass from Miller (Holland kick)
HD--Motley 80 pass from Iske (Johns kick)
HD--LeFevre 44 FG
HD--LeFevre 45 FG