Thursday, October 15, 2009

Davis runs Wild(cats)

By Russell Korando

On a night better suited for waterfowl, the rain and mud of Luxembourg Field rolled right off the Wildcats' backs and they barged their way into the state record book.

After rain saturated St. Charles County for 48 hours last week, Wright City traveled to Orchard Farm to meet the Eagles in an Eastern Missouri Conference game. The field was a soggy mess, and just lifting a foot out of the quagmire took a lot of effort. Players tackled in the middle of the field splashed water a few feet high.

It was a running team's worst nightmare, right?

As it turned out, the pass-orientated offense of the Eagles got bogged down, while the Wildcats ran their single wing to perfection. Junior running back Trent Davis followed fullback Joey Quesenberry's seal blocks on the edge on several plays, and the offensive line of Wyatt Mohrmann, Jake Zumwalt, Andrew Sherman, Kyle Lewis and Nick Reese opened the door for Davis to have a record-setting night.

Davis carried the ball 43 times and gained 466 yards rushing and the Wildcats bludgeoned the Eagles 42-20. Davis' rushing total was the fourth best single-game performance in state history. CBC's Rayon Simmons holds the state record with 533 yards, set in 2007.

"They did a great job of focusing in and doing a great job of making holes," said Wright City coach James Weir. "I told them before the game that the team that won would be the one that did not care that it was cold and wet."

There's an old saying, 'even the longest journey starts with a single step'. Davis' record-setting night started with a 1-yard gain. The Eagles had already scored a touchdown and led 7-0. But then Davis gained four yards . . . then six. His longest run of the night was a 77-yard touchdown that gave the Wildcats a 20-7 lead in the second quarter.

"It was raining all day, but we weren't going to let that stop us," Davis said. "We were having fun out there. The line did a great job and made the holes for me. It was slippery, but we somehow managed to keep our footing and get everything we needed."

Davis has scored 26 of his team's 34 touchdowns this year. He's rushed for 1,769 yards and averages more than 9 yards per carry. He broke Jed Hill's single-season rushing yards record of 1,423, set in 2002.

Twice, the Wildcats had 1-play possessions because of a combination of Davis' running and his teammates' blocking.

"It is nice, but we do not get too excited about individual accomplishments until after the season," Weir said. "The most important thing is that we did what we needed to do to win the game."

Early this season, the Wildcats started using the single wing formation, and the offense has clicked ever since. The single wing is so old an offensive concept, that it was on the critically endangered offenses list. But if the Wildcats' success gains a foothold, other teams are sure to follow, just as they did with the spread offense.

"I don't know what it's called, but it's powerful," Davis said smiling on Friday.

Weir said Davis' success is because he's an unselfish person who works hard in practice and trusts his teammates. And he's not alone. Quarterback Zac Kaibel and receiver Deon Bradshaw are also talented offensive players who excel in their roles. Kaibel had a 40-yard run on the Wildcats' opening series Friday.

The Wildcats' four-game winning streak and all of those yards Davis gained last week won't mean much if they lose their next three games. They begin play in Class 2 District 5 this week against Centralia, which Weir said was the No. 1 football team in the state, classes 1 through 3.

"I told them you have to win two of three (district games) - plain and simple," Weir said. "Survive and advance!"
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