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Davis plays big on national stage

KAYSVILLE — If every game was as exciting as Friday night's between Northridge and Davis, ESPN might come knocking on Utah's door more often.

In a game that pitted the state's top-seeded team against region rival Davis, ESPN selected it as its Friday Night Light's High School Game of the Week, and boy it didn't disappoint.

The Darts shined, especially the defense, in a 41-14 drubbing of Northridge at Dart Field. The Knights on the other hand failed to take advantage of the national spotlight and show why they are considered one of the best teams in the West.

"This is a great win for our kids and our community," said Davis head coach Ryan Bishop. "When Northridge has needed turnovers, they've gotten them.

"They are one of the most opportunistic teams. We had those opportunities tonight and our defense came up big."

Neither team looked good to start off the game. Both committed fumbles and neither scored until Davis used its running game to get to the Northridge 5-yard line. The drive was capped off when Zack Olsen took a keeper into the end zone, but the Darts did miss the point after to keep it at 6-0.

Northridge started its next drive on the 20 and looked to be clicking on the offensive side as well before quarterback T.J Canales threw over the head of his intended receiver in the middle and into the hands of Davis defensive back David Bailey. The Darts capitalized on the turnover with another touchdown. This one came off a 15-yard pass from Olsen to Jeremy Pendleton.

Trying to make up for the missed PAT, Davis used the option to score the two-point conversion and make it a 14-0 halftime score.

The Knights scored their first points of the game at the 7:46 mark in the third quarter. After mustering just 22 rushing yards in the first half, while yielding 222, Northridge went back to the passing game. T.J. Canales tossed four completions in a row, including a 30-yarder in the corner of the end zone to a reaching Bryant Eteuati.

Davis answered right back as Olsen rushed 63 yards down the near sideline for a score. The Darts connected on the extra point to make it a 21-7 lead.

Using the passing game once again, Northridge charged down the field and converted a fourth down to keep the drive alive. Davis' defense then looked to have Canales trapped, but the scrambling quarterback found a wide-open Grayson Dart to make it a one-possession game.

The Darts started with great field possession on the next drive after a strong kick return, but Ryan Kariya fumbled on the 50-yard line to give Northridge the ball back. Davis' defense would answer the call and force Northridge to punt with just less than 9:30 left in the game.

The Knights then held Davis to its first three-and-out possession of the game. With the momentum shifted its way, Northridge looked ready to score again, but Davis came up with another turnover. Just as Dart went up to grab Canales' pass, Bailey knocked the receiver away from the ball. Meanwhile, the ball fell into the hands of Travis Hutchison. The Darts wasted no time and took a quick snap that exposed an unready Knight defense as Kariya went untouched through the middle for a 48-yard score.

After another Davis stop, Kariya scored from the 10 to stretch it to 35-14.

The exclamation point came when Andrew Lloyd shook his way though the Knight defense for a 66-yard score. Davis missed the PAT to make for a 41-14 final.

"Our team played amazing tonight," said Bailey. "The line got it done for us. Our offensive and defensive lines are the spirit of this team."