Jordan Hicks scored three touchdowns, but it was the defensive effort that stood out for the Hilliard Davidson High School football team in a 24-7 win at previously unbeaten Dublin Coffman on Oct. 12.
The Wildcats improved to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Central Division by turning big defensive plays into points, while the Shamrocks fell to 7-1 and 2-1.
“We knew they had some players that could hurt you, so we wanted to make them work for everything they got,” Davidson coach Brian White said. “Offensively, we didn’t get out of our comfort zone and we stayed with the formula. We stayed with what we needed to do.”
The Wildcats started things off by stopping Coffman on its own 29-yard line on the game’s opening drive. Shamrocks running back Mike Drennen was stopped for no gain on fourth down as Davidson took over on downs. That set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Hicks with 6 minutes, 49 seconds left in the first quarter.
“That play kind of set the tone for the game,” Davidson linebacker Evan Annis said. “I’m pretty sure (defensive lineman) Josiah Ezirim was the guy who got the stop. That got us going.”
Coffman coach Mark Crabtree felt like his team needed to seize momentum early if it had the opportunity.
“I knew before the game that if we had a fourth-and-short we would go for it to gain some early momentum,” Crabtree said. “If it had been fourth-and-long or fourth-and-medium, we would have punted. I thought we could have made that, but they made a good play to stop us.”
Quarterback Ethan Brown had the Shamrocks’ lone score, a 2-yard run with 7:16 left in the first half as the teams were tied at 7 at halftime.
Coffman seemed to have the momentum after forcing Davidson into a three-and-out punt on the opening drive of the second half and drove into Wildcats territory on the ensuing possession.
However, the Shamrocks turned the ball over when a snap out of the shotgun formation during a downpour sailed past Brown. The Wildcats recovered on the Coffman 40, 17 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Sean Carrier then kicked a 26-yard field goal with 5:29 left in the third quarter to change the momentum in the Wildcats’ favor and Davidson went on to outscore the Shamrocks 17-0 in the second half.
“Our offensive line did a great job opening things up and they did everything they could to get us in the end zone,” said Hicks, who rushed for 103 yards on 14 carries. “This is one of the biggest games of the year for us and our line played like it.”
Christian Sweet had 53 yards on 13 carries for Davidson, which did not attempt a pass.
Brown completed 13 of 23 passes for 74 yards with an interception and ran eight times for 53 yards. Drennen rushed for 99 yards on 22 carries.
==========Team 1 2 3 4 Final HILLIARD DAVIDSON 7 0 3 14 24 DUBLIN COFFMAN
0 7 0 0 7
HD—Hicks 2 run (Carrier kick)
DC—Brown 2 run (Mitchell kick)
HD—Carrier 26 FG
HD—Hicks 38 run (Carrier kick)
HD—Hicks 2 run (Carrier kick)